It is always a bit suspicious when someone takes something away from you, but then they try to convince you that it is for your own benefit well that’s exactly what’s happened with smartphones recently.
Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi and we have no doubt that plenty of others very soon will decide to no longer give you a charger in the box.
Every single one of these companies has said that they are doing this to protect the environment but this makes you think, is not giving a charger actually better for the environment because yes on the face of it of course if everything else has stayed the same, then shipping a phone without a charger means they can use a smaller box and it also means one less plastic brick that might one day end up in a landfill site.
With this logic, you could look at Samsung’s new galaxy s21 ultra box compared to last year’s s20 ultra box and think, wow Samsung you are so eco-conscious, it is half the size you are my hero.
But not everything does stay the same. As soon as a company decides that they are not going to send a charger with their phone, it creates knock-on effects like just for starters, a lot of people will end up buying their own.
Think about it:
1. If you just use your old charger you are not getting the charging speed that you are paying for.
This means, if you are using a three-year-old brick, you are probably not even getting half of the charging speed that your phone is capable of.
2. Chargers do not last forever.
Aside from the fact that people lose them, if you just carry on using a charger that you have already been using for three years, for another three years then there is at least a reasonable chance that something is going to go wrong with either the brick or the cable that is specifically made to fit that brick. So you might end up buying a new one anyway.
3. What people rarely talk about
The whole concept of not giving someone a new charger means that people will have to rely on their old one. but the way it works in most households is when you buy a new phone, you sell or give away the old phone including the charger that came with it.
So assuming that at some point within the three years or so that you use your new phone you decide to buy a new charger for it then straight away we have already used more packaging than the entire box of the last generation.
Many people may be thinking, don’t be silly this is tiny. but if you open it up a box with a charger, you can see that in able to send something like a charger on its own, you need a lot of padding so there is not just the cardboard outside but a cardboard tray a second layer of cardboard on the inside, not to mention a plastic anti-static bag.
But most significantly we have to factor in, that not just the packaging that comes with the charger but just all the extra environmental damage that comes with having a separate item that needs to be delivered.
For example, the fact that a van has to take one extra trip to come to drop the item off for you, but also the fact that this means we have to have an entirely separate outer box that takes up even more room in that truck than the entire last phone’s retail box.
But it doesn’t end there, because, in this whole frenzy of charges getting removed, we have also silently lost the earphones we used to get.
Now if the s21 ultra had a headphone jack, then fine fair enough. We can all agree that the headphone jack has been around long enough that it is fair to assume that everyone has a pair at home.
But, the s21 doe not have a headphone jack. How many people do you think just randomly have a pair of USB C specific earphones lying around? Because these are the ones they would actually need for this phone. Sure, wireless earphones are booming right now we can always go out and buy a pair of galaxy buds pro, but those are in a completely different price bracket and so the solution for a lot of people is going to be, “okay, I’m going to go on to amazon.com and I’m just going to buy the cheapest USB C earphones that i can find”.
However, when you do search for a very cheap pair that has some nice compact packaging, you will probably find that it is out of stock. When you do eventually buy a pair of cheap buds, then you are probably going to be in for the worst earphone experience that you will ever have.
You are no longer getting not getting that special AKG tuned sound that you used to get but more importantly, you have probably used three times as much packaging than if that stuff was just included in the original box. And the worst part of it is, is that the box your new headphones comes in is massive.
So when your package comes, there is a whole lot of padding and plastic to fill the box with your item.
Yes to be clear, Amazon does try to deliver in as few deliveries as possible and they do try to have an outer box that roughly matches what comes inside of it. But the very fact that Amazon handles so many different types of items means that they can’t possibly optimize the packaging as much as Samsung could because when Samsung sends out a phone, it is going to be the same size every single time.
Samsung can come up with a system that means you use very little cardboard.
If everything you need for your phone comes in one single package then yes that box is bigger and yes not everyone is going to use every single thing that comes inside of it, but just because of how snugly you can fit these bits together, because of how each piece no longer needs its own separate packaging, and because it can all be delivered in one trip, we can safely say that on average, sending out a charger and earbuds with the phone is still better for the environment.
So let us hope that one day they will start putting the chargers and earbuds back into those lovely little boxes
Catch up on more stories here
Follow us on Facebook here