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Waste Reduction

Is this a clever move to reduce waste, or a clever money grab

Apple released the iPhone 12 without an accompanying charging cable or earbuds . users have strongly criticised Apple for this decision. Users will need to buy these accessories separately if they are needed.

Apple’s goal is to lower its carbon footprint.

It is the first mobile phone released by a major manufacturer without a charger. Samsung was reported to have considered a similar move earlier this year. However, it never followed through.

Apple could save money by abandoning chargers, but the move would have a positive effect on the environment.

Australians buy, on average every 18-24 months, a new phone. About 23 million phones are sitting unused in Australia.

Electronic waste (e-waste) is created by unused and discarded appliances, just as plastic bags are disposed of after use.

Read more: Don’t chuck that old mobile phone, there’s gold in there.

You can reuse a shopping bag, so why not your phone charger?

South Australia was the first state to ban single-use bags in Australia. Currently, all states and territories in Australia have enforced the ban. New South Wales will do so by the end of 2021.

South Australia’s state government estimates indicate that since 2008 when the ban was implemented, it has prevented 8,000kg of marine debris each year and reduced more than 4,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

The benefits to the environment are clear. Why are we so reluctant to do the exact same thing with e-waste, then?

E-waste can be a serious environmental problem, but it is also solvable.

EWaste is a term that describes discarded electronic and electric appliances that are no longer useful to their owners. Mobile phones, TVs, computers, and chargers are all examples of e-waste.

There are currently about 4,78 billion mobile phones in use worldwide (61.2% of the world’s population). Portable phone chargers generate over 51,000 tons per year.

The environment would benefit greatly if users reused their phone chargers and if technology companies encouraged a move to standardised charging across mobile phone brands.

It would lead to a decrease in the production of chargers and potentially less exploitation of resources.

Who really needs a charger that features an Apple logo?

European Parliament is pushing for standardized chargers to be used for small electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, and eReaders, as well as smart cameras and wearable electronics.

It would eliminate the need to purchase different chargers for each device.

Digital consumption will not slow down anytime soon. How else can tech companies innovate in order to reduce environmental damage? Shutterstock

There’s no question that phone companies want you to buy new phones regularly. Apple has been alleged to have built a feature in their phones that causes them to slow down with age. Apple replied by saying that this was to keep devices going as batteries wore down.

Apple’s decision not to ship chargers with phones would still save precious materials. Apple could fit up to 70 additional products on shipping pallets by using a smaller product box. This would reduce carbon emissions.

It remains to be determined how much this will help Apple achieve its environmental goals, particularly if consumers are likely to buy a charger separately.

Apple compares the “climate-conscious” changes it made to the iPhone 12 to removing 450,000 cars annually from the roads. The company aims to become carbon neutral by the year 2030.

Wireless chargers: the solution?

Apple may be primarily motivated by a desire to reduce costs, or it could be aiming at promoting its wireless charging device.

These concerns are valid. Apple is among the wealthiest companies in the entire world. The majority of its market capital comes from sales of hardware.

Wireless charging is a disaster waiting to happen if we don’t switch to standardized plug-in chargers (even if it may be inevitable because of their convenience). Wireless charging uses around 48.7% of the power that a cable would.

This could be a problem since the benefits of sustainability may come with increased energy consumption. The Information, Communication, and Technology sector (ICT) currently, is responsible for approximately 2 percent of the world’s energy consumption.

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Jane S. King

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