If you’ve been using cell phones for some years, you’ve probably amassed quite a pile of chargers as well. When the phone dies or you upgrade, the chargers are useless. It’s more junk laying around and not only that, a ton of resources have gone into making those items.
According to the European Commission, old chargers currently generate several thousands of tons of waste a year in Europe alone.
The European Commission recently requested industry to make a voluntary commitment to deal with the problem in order avoid legislation. No industry is fond of more legislation, so major producers of cell phones have committed to provide chargers using a Micro-USB connector in the European Union starting from next year.
The companies that have made the commitment are Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Texas Instruments.
It’s great to see this happen. My current phone utilises a Micro-USB connector and it’s so much more convenient – I just plug it into my computer’s USB port to recharge. With USB ports popping up on all sorts of devices, I’m never far away from a charging point. Not having to lug around the charger is a bonus.
Aside from the waste issue, manufacturers can also reduce production and packaging costs by moving over to the standard on future phones.
Let’s hope what’s happening in Europe goes global – it’s a common sense move that also helps reduce the environmental impact of mobile communications.