Everyone who has a cell phone
has, somewhere, a drawer filled with old chargers from long-gone handsets.
Those days soon will come to an end in Europe, where all the top mobile
phone producers have agreed to make all their data-enabled sets use the
The European Commission, according to Reuters, announced the pact
today. EU Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen hailed it as a movie
that would save thousands of tons of waste each year on the continent.
About 185 million new phones are bought annually in Europe and there
are about 400 million cell phones total.
While the pact doesn't apply to all phones - those that just accept
standard calls and SMS texts can still have any old charger - it's
expected that the more expensive and more versatile data-enabled sets
will account for nearly half of all purchases next year.
The companies that agreed to the plan are Nokia, Sony Ericsson,
Motorola, Apple, LG, NEC, Qualcomm, Research in Motion, Samsung and
Texas Instruments - basically, all the major cell phone makers. And if
they're willing to sign a pact for one standard charger in Europe, one
might think the U.S. wouldn't be far behind.
"We're assuming this new European initiative will have a knock-on
effect globally and manufacturers won't just be doing this on the
European market," Verheugen told Reuters
Until that day, you can recycle
your cell phone charger (and cell phone, for that matter). Tons of waste is created by electronics
each year, and many electronics contain metals and other materials bad
for the environment, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection