There’s absolutely no reason for every mobile phone to have a different charger. It’s pointless and unnecessary. Thankfully, the situation is set to change, with plans for a new energy-efficient universal cellphone charger having been approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), part of the United Nations.
One of the unfortunate byproducts of living in the technological age is the sheer amount of waste that we produce. Household electrical items and gadgets seem to generally have a lifespan of just a few years nowadays, and we live in a throwaway society where even computers and expensive, once-cherished luxury items are consumed to the trash without a second glance.
Cellphones, or mobile phones if you live anywhere outside the States, are a big offender in this area. Cellphones change in shape, style, and features so quickly that very few people keep hold of their mobiles beyond the terms of one contract. Which means that once every 12 to 24 months, almost everyone who owns a mobile is throwing them out and replacing them with a new upgrade.
That’s bad enough, and an inevitable part of the society we now live in. But what also gets thrown out and replaced is the proprietary chargers which accompany each new phone. A change of make or model is usually enough to mean the old charger is defunct, and either stays in the box or gets thrown in the trash to consume more of our ever-dwindling free space.
Thankfully, something is being done about this trend, although it’s taken rather longer than it needed to. According to BBC News, the ITU has now approved plans for the new charger, although it is not compulsory for manufacturers to sign up to the scheme. Which I feel is a shame because it means companies such as Apple, which seems to want everything fine-tuned to its own products, can carry on with its current charger policy.
Thankfully, some companies are already signing up and the universal charger is set to launch in the first half of 2010. Now all we need is for every other gadget and gizmo to also use the same charger and we might actually get somewhere in reducing waste of the nature.