O2 e-waste drive trials smartphone with no charger

Network operator O2 to is pilot a new smartphone in its shops that will be sold without a charger in a bid to cut down on electronic waste.

O2 plans to phase out new chargers sold with phones sold by 2015 – it estimates that of the 30m new phones sold annually in the UK, 70% of buyers already have a compatible charger for the handset.

The flagship phone has been developed by Taiwanese firm HTC in response to increasing demand for a universal charger. Three years ago, 10 major phone makers including Apple, Nokia and Samsung committed to a voluntary agreement to work towards such a device based on a micro USB connector, but little progress has been made since then.

O2’s chief executive Ronan Dunne said that retailers and manufacturers had a responsibility to generate a more sustainable industry for smartphones.

“Right now, O2 with HTC has to go it alone on this matter – we both believe in it passionately enough that we can’t wait for the industry as a whole to join us in this crusade. The environmental cost of multiple and redundant chargers is enormous.”

He admitted the industry had “fallen short” of its original promise to standardise charging across all handsets.

HTC’s regional director of the UK Phil Roberson added: “A unified approach across all manufacturers and retailers would dramatically decrease the industry’s carbon footprint, not only in terms of manufacturing, but also packaging and transport.”

Buyers who don’t have a suitable charger already will be able to buy one separately from O2 at cost price. The phone will come boxed with a USB cable to plug into existing mains chargers.

Maxine Perella

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