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O2 wants to stop bundling phone chargers to help environment

O2 and HTC's bid to stop bundling phone chargers to reduce waste is off to a good start.

Joe Svetlik Reporter
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Joe Svetlik
2 min read
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In September, O2 launched a bid to stop packing chargers with mobiles to clamp down on environmental waste. The results of the pilot scheme are in, and are looking encouraging.

O2 says in a blog post that it sold HTC's One X+ without a USB charger. Instead, the phone came with just the USB-to-micro-USB cable, though customers could pick up a regular USB wall charger at cost price. 82 per cent of people buying the handset didn't purchase a separate charger, which exceeded O2's aim of 70 per cent, and is good news for the environment.

If this was extended to all 30 million phones sold in the UK every year, that would mean 24 million fewer chargers sold annually in the UK, O2 reckons, dramatically reducing waste.

O2's CEO Ronan Dunne said of the trial: "More than four-in-five of our smart phone customers who have participated in the trial are willing to buy a new phone from us and to use an existing charging device to attach it to the mains.

"The results of the trial demonstrate a clear willingness among consumers to consider and respond to the environmental argument for taking a phone charger-free. I now hope that as a result of this study the rest of the industry will now consider joining us in our campaign to take chargers out of the box for good."

I think it's a good idea, as long as it's made clear to customers exactly what's in the box, to avoid any disappointment once they get their phones home. I've got plenty of duplicate cables, so I can believe O2's claim that there are 100 million unused chargers in the UK. I opted not to buy the official Amazon charger for my Kindle Paperwhite, when I realised the one for my HTC phone would do the job, and saved myself £18 in the process, which I was pretty pleased about.

Of course this relies on manufacturers choosing a standard charger type, which some refuseniks will never do.

What do you think of the scheme? Let me know in the comments, or on Facebook.