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London’s Red Phone Booths Go Green, Charge CellPhones

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green-phone-box-GETThe big red telephone booths across the London, which were serving millions just a decade ago, are now a typical photo background.  A couple of geography students, however, are now turning the iconic booths into green boxes, where cell phones can be charged with solar power.

Nine out of ten visitors of London have at least one photo taken inside or next to the old and very pretty red phone booths. Not too long ago, these beauties served the purpose of connecting people, but unfortunately nowadays they are mostly a decoration on London’s busy sidewalks. A team of geography students, who recently graduated from LSE, however, took on the task to give a second life to the pretty phone boxes.

In their quest to find better uses of public spaces, Harold Craston and Kirsty Kenny came up with the idea to paint the booths green and convert them into solar-powered cellphone charging stations and call them Solarbox. The couple proposed to fit an 86cm solar panels on the roofs, and place advertising screens inside to make the service free of charge.  Each box is able to charge as many as 100 phones a day, and bring up the battery charge from 0 to 20% in a space of 10 minutes.

The plan so far involves converting only 6 of the 8,000 phone booths into a solar charging station. One is already done and can be used by all passers by Tottenham Court Road. Since it began operation last week, the booth is being used by an average of 6 people per hour, according to the makers. Click here to see a video demonstration on how it works.

Will this be the next use of the famous landmarks? Maybe. I only see one downside of the whole thing and that is the paint. Yes, they will be “green”, but their identity and symbolism should be preserved. Don’t get me wrong, I really love the idea of giving the booths a green second life. But I also love my photo with the good old red phone booth on a busy street of London.

Image (c) Getty

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