One of the most serious problems presented by the growing popularity of smartphones is the question of what happens to all of the old phone chargers when mobile owners upgrade to the latest devices.
O2 is trying to resolve the problem through its ‘Charger Out of the Box’ scheme, which it launched in October 2012. This aims to reduce waste by encouraging manufacturers to stop including chargers as standard with their new phones. It started to generate more attention after a few big names signed up to the scheme, and now Sony has thrown its hat into the ring.
Sony recently announced that customers buying its new Xperia SP smartphone will find that the charger is not included (it will, however, come with a USB cable). If new owners really want the charger, they will have to buy it separately, albeit at a discount price.
Sony follows on from Nokia and HTC, which have already announced their inclusion in the scheme with the Lumia 925 and the HTC One X+ handsets respectively.
The idea is that by making a small change, manufacturers can make a huge impact upon the amount of wastage that the chargers are responsible for. As well as the physical waste caused by the 100 million chargers not used in UK, according to O2’s estimates it will also lead to a reduction in the environmental costs of transport and storage.
O2’s goal is to encourage all manufactures to ship the 30 million new phones sold in the UK each year without chargers by 2015. Whether it will be successful remains to be seen, but the fact that Sony has joined the scheme certainly shows that the manufacturers are taking it seriously. If consumers find that they don’t really need a new charger with every phone after all, it could really catch on.