On 15th of September 2020, Apple scheduled its yearly event where the company generally announces its latest set of iPhones and other apple products and we saw a very interesting thing which is going to affect this electronics market in the coming years. The major issue we face in the usage of the outstanding technology, is the issues of e-Waste. Every year millions of people buy new phones, and generally after using it for a year or two the technology becomes outdated, and people buy new phones, but we never look into the fact that what happens to these old devices and the accessories which comes along with them. There are many schemes out there which take back used phones for negligible amount of money, but rarely people use it. To contribute to this cause Apple, decided to scrap the Charger and other accessories from the original box of Mobile Phones, along with other steps like using of recycled materials for production of their phones. They aim to be Carbon Neutral by 2030.
Apple in this particular event announced that their iWatch would not be coming with in box charger and other accessories and also it is kind of confirmed for the upcoming iPhones through various sources. The speculations of not including the charger started around five months back and this even confirmed it.
HOW IS IT HELPFUL?
So for a majority of users, they already have their old chargers when they buy a new device and sometimes these old chargers go waste for no reason and lie around the house, there have been instances where people have been careless enough to just throw it in normal garbage without segregating it. Earlier this year even the European Union decided to have common port for all chargers (preferably a USB-C) for all the devices which is going to help curb this e- waste.
According to a UNU (United Nations University), in 2014 the amount of electronic waste (e-waste) on an international level reached 41.8 million tonnes and in 2018 it will reach 50 million. Of these 41.8 million tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment waste, only 6.5 tonnes were collected, treated, and recycled. The rest ended up in household rubbish, mixed with organic leftovers and plastics. Through this step the company believes it would reduce a significant chunk of this waste. We believe that Apple will switch other gadgets steadily before the iPhone, such as Wireless iMac mouse, iPad models, etc. So, we have all the “USB-C cables” that we want until we realise it. In 2012, there were “tens of millions” of Apple gadgets (30-pin connector). Today, there are billions of Gadgets with “Lightning”. If it does come, this transformation will be a greater “disruption to the ecosystem”. (The Apple Ecosystem), and the shift to chargers with “USB-C connectors” will travel faster. We can charge our mobile from a MacBook as well as the “charging plug in the box” after all with the cable packaged with the newest iPhone.
Over the past decade, the “European Commission” has advocated for a single charging system. More than 30 forms of chargers were on the markets in 2009, but since then, the amount has been decreased to only three major ones.
The regulator would minimise electronic waste produced by expired cables, which approximately produces more than 51,000 tonnes of trash each year. “This is hugely detrimental for the environment,” said European Parliament member Alex Agius Saliba. “A common charger should fit all mobile phones, tablets, e-book readers and other portable devices.”
Apple and some of its competitors, including like “Huawei and Samsung”, have already released products which wirelessly charge their gadgets. Although the scheme is at an early phase, recent advances have made it possible to contend with existing ways of charging. Some experts believe that Apple will fully eliminate its charging ports by launching upcoming iPhone and iPad models that focus entirely on “wireless charging”.
Other companies are also bound to follow this step as Apple is the market leader in smartphones, which was quite evident by the notch trend started by Apple. This in turn is significantly going to reduce this waste. Companies might also be moving towards Cordless charging in supporting this initiative. Apart from this Apple has also said that it would be using 100% recycled Aluminium for Mobile Phone and Smart Watch Chassis, 100% recycled tungsten, 95% recycled fibre packaging for the phones and Arsenic free glasses.
Apple has continuously switched to “smaller boxes” and less accessories, reducing packing prices and delivery charges. This supports the “environment” – smaller packages ensure that they can be packaged into every airplane and trucks, lowering fuel prices and pollution. The contribution of the organisation to environmentally sustainable products and development practises, not to say, “renewable energy”, is no joke. So, we don’t consider that ditching “boxed chargers” is merely a contemptuous cash- grab, but we do hope that, Apple should make the move more convenient and make things simpler for its consumers to cope with the possible unpleasant problems.
Jay Gajbhiye and Ankesh, No Accessories in the Box? Apple’s Revolutionary New Step, Ex Gratia Law Journal, (March 9, 2021), https://exgratialawjournal.in/blawg/technology-and-law/no-accessories-in-the-box-apples-revolutionary-new-step-by-jay-gajbhiye-and-ankesh/.