Last fall, O2 and HTC began selling the One X+ without a pack-in wall charger since the UK carrier estimated that 70 percent of customers already own hardware that would get the job done. After a few months of sales with the eco-minded initiative in place, O2 is claiming that 82 percent of folks didn't buy a separate charger when they purchased their smartphone, handily beating expectations for the effort. Those who did need the extra piece of kit were able to buy it separately "at cost." O2 figures that if the same strategy was applied to all phones sold in the UK for a year, there would be 24 million fewer chargers purchased during that time. According to research conducted by the carrier, there are 18,700 tons worth of unused chargers in the UK that could top off four Olympic swimming pools. If you're not a fan of the idea, brace yourself: the firm is pledging that all its handsets will be sold without a packed-in charger by 2015.
O2 and HTC "Charger Out Of The Box" initiative sees four-in-every-five handsets sold charger-free.
The results of a pilot by mobile network O2 and HTC has exceeded expectations as, for the first time, the manufacturer's HTC One X+ handsets were sold without the USB chargers they would usually come with – creating a massive environmental saving and paving the way for further trials in the future.
First ever trial of charger-free phones finds 82% of consumers "take the greener option"
Paves the way for O2 to take all chargers out of the box by 2015
O2 bids to eliminate waste of 100 million unused chargers across the UK
Since the "Charger out of the Box" pilot was launched in October, 82% of those who bought the charger-free handset did not buy a separate charger for it – exceeding O2's target of 70%.
The pilot, the first of its kind in the world, offers the HTC One X+ handset with just the USB-to-micro-USB connection lead with the phone (although if customers do want a charger with their new handset, they are able to purchase one at cost price).
There are 30 million new phones sold in the UK each year. If the results of this pilot were repeated with all handsets, there would be 24 million chargers fewer sold annually in the UK – a huge environmental saving.
Ronan Dunne, CEO of O2 said of the pilot:
"More than four-in-five of our smartphone 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."
Phil Roberson, Regional Director of the UK at HTC, said:
"Along with O2, we've been encouraged by the numbers of people who have taken our flagship handset without a USB charger. This pilot demonstrates that, if we inform our customers about the environmental impact of wasted phone chargers and the benefits of using the chargers and mains adapters that they already own, they respond positively to the message."
Research by O2 suggests there are as many as 100 million unused chargers in total in the UK that are either duplicates of existing kit or are from old handsets. These have already had a huge environmental cost:
- A total of 18,700 tonnes of components (the same weight as 1,000 London buses)
- 124,274 miles of copper wire and plastic covering (enough to wrap the O2 Arena 200,000 times)
- A volume of landfill equivalent to four Olympic swimming pools if all were thrown away
Within its Think Big Blueprint, O2's 3 year sustainability strategy, the company has pledged to supply phones charger-free by 2015 to cut down on the huge environmental waste that spare and redundant chargers create.
Promoting a single charger, selling phones without chargers as standard and encouraging recycling are just three of the ways O2 is seeking to help customers make a difference to the environment through its Think Big Blueprint – an ambitious plan to support young people, help customers make sustainable choices and reduce its own impacts by 2015.
Ronan Dunne concludes:
"These trial results offer powerful evidence that customers are prepared to amend their purchasing decisions if they have more choice and more information. The lesson for the industry from this pilot is that consumers are very receptive to the message that they can benefit the environment by avoiding the needless purchase of chargers. I would now like to see others taking similar steps, working with us as we aim to ensure all our handsets are sold charger-free by 2015."