Less Waste in Europe - One Charger at a Time
August 21, 2009
Updated: October 28, 2009 - UN Body agrees with EU on universal cell phone charger. See link >>
How many little cell phone chargers you have floating around the house? One for every mobile device you have. How many different ones. How many old phone chargers do you have hidden in the garage? To answer the last question: we are doing the right thing with our old phones. They are given to a school that then hands them over to a charity to raise money. But at one time the little plugs all reach their end of life. Ready to get recycled?
It must be worse in Europe because the European Union put a directive in place that shall reduce the number of those little chargers that come with every new phone you buy. Standardization is the answer
for the Euros. All phones shall have the same charging connector by 2010! And it will be micro-USB! Will it help? (Pssst: Nokia wants to break Apple's hold on customers by forcing them to give up the iPod connector that is used for charging and data transfer in the iPhone.)
Fantasy (left) or a better Reality - The Powermat
Look at your own situation at home. We have different chargers for the iPhone, two Bluetooth headsets, a Razr, a Sony Ericson cell and a lone Blackberry. Even though the Razr, one headset and the Blackberry have all a mini-USB, they all need their specific, personal charger. No interchange. It would be nice if they would all the same connector compatibility!
How will it help?
Will the phone manufacturers stop shipping their phones with chargers? And we will just use the charger from the old phone? Selling the old and giving it to charity would ot work anymore. The old phone would have to go to "waste".
Will it help the customers?
Every phone could be charged with anybody else's charger in case you run out of juice. That's a plus. With a USB cable you could charge the phone with any computer. ++
Chargers could be designed that allow the charging of multiple devices that all use USB power. ++++
It's really a pitty that bureaucrats decide on the fate of innovation. Even though a trivial task, this could have been a good time to re-think the entire charging model - see Wireless Charging.
It is now up to a few great engineers and designers to put their heads together and make it happen.
Apple's iPhone. Integrate wireless charging (see our 4th Gen iPhone Spec Wish List) and find a place for the darn micro-USB stecker - sorry - connector just for the Euros.
UN Body Approves Universal Cell Phone Charger
Electricty Monitoring saves Energy
The Plugged-In Age haunts us (NY-Times)
Wireless Charging - The Powermat
Saving Energy at Home by watching it.
While Europe seems to focus on reducing the number of chargers, the U.S. is looking at reducing electricity usage. Disconnecting devices when they are not charging is a nice concept. What we need is a smart charger that draws Zero Current when the charging is done!