The European Commission (EC) has published a new policy proposal to remove chargers (external power supplies) from the box of new mobile phones. The proposal followed the publication in September 2021 of an Impact Assessment study carried out by Trinomics and IPSOS.
The project is a follow-up to the Impact Assessment Study on Common Chargers of Portable Devices that Trinomics carried out in 2019, which concluded that the benefits of a common charging initiative would be enhanced if complementary measures to unbundle (decouple) chargers from phone sales were adopted.
The recently published Impact Assessment study carried out a more in-depth assessment of the economic and environmental impacts of policy options for the unbundling of chargers from mobile phones and other portable devices. In particular, Trinomics: (i) updated the stock model it created in the 2019 Impact Assessment study, incorporating new sources and studies that assisted in the refinement of the assumptions made. This model, the TRI-STOCK-CHARGER model, is published on the EU policy modelling database MIDAS; and (ii) estimated the environmental impact (on material use, emissions, and e-waste) of different policy options and packages of options for the unbundling of chargers from mobile phones and other portable devices. Interviews with manufacturers, NGOs and businesses in the recycling sector supported the work.
The key findings of the work included:
- The mobile phone market is already moving towards unbundling in many cases, with Apple and Samsung among the largest suppliers already having removed the external power supply (charging) block from the box of some or all their phones
- An important trade-off exists for unbundling with the environmental gains (reduced emissions and waste) and some possible consumer savings, offset against increased costs for charger manufacturers and loss of consumer convenience.
- The case for change is finely balanced and is, in the end, a political decision on priorities.
For more information, please contact Matthew Smith.
Click here to visit the project page.