One of the most wasteful aspects of the tech industry is the way it deals with device chargers, especially for mobile phones and smartphones. Different companies use different types of chargers, so even within the same carrier you have a whole slew of different ones. Switching from a BlackBerry to an iPhone? You've got a new charger, and an old one to throw out. The current decentralized nature of chargers creates a lot of waste, probably more than you realize.
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That's why the EU is trying to get all manufacturers who sell smartphones in Europe to agree to a standard USB charger. Apple's just signed on to the initiative, which already includes giants like Nokia, RIM, Samsung, Texas Instruments, and LG. In total, more than 90% of the European mobile market has agreed to standardize.
Right now, the initiative only encompasses data-enabled smartphones. That makes sense, because inside of ten years no one in Europe (or the U.S for that matter) is going to own a vanilla mobile phone. This is a measure that is firmly rooted in solving an issue now before it becomes a problem in the future.
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The GSMA's eventual goal is to create a universal 4-star energy rated micro-USB device that will be used as the standard charger throughout Europe. By doing this, they can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13.6 - 21.8 million metric tons. This is my favorite kind of environmentalism. It's not just lamenting a problem and protesting without effect. The GSMA has developed a concrete, workable plan that will have a substantial positive environmental impact, and they've managed to get a whole bunch of big corporations to agree to help them. With any luck, this initiative will be repeated in the U.S smartphone market before too long.