A new EU Parliament ruling aims to put tighter rules in place about how batteries in mobile phones, tablets and other portable electronic devices are made and disposed of. As a result, batteries in such items would have to be replaceable by users.
Before it becomes a law, this ruling needs to be approved by the European Council, and even then, it would only apply to devices sold in the EU. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that EU legislation has caused similar changes internationally; Apple has already accepted that they will be forced to switch from using their Lightning charging port to USB-C following a recent European law, and with replaceable batteries being a similar manufacturing issue, it has the potential to change mobile phones worldwide.
Andrea Beattie, SCG’s Mobile Procurement Co-Ordinator, commented, “I think we are going to find that the whole industry is moving towards self-repair of devices, to make it easier for people to keep devices going for longer. Manufacturers such as Samsung have already introduced self-repair programmes, and although this latest ruling by the European Parliament isn’t yet law, it will just be a matter of time.”
Whatever the driving force behind these changes, it has the potential to make the next wave of mobile phones even more consumer friendly. And with such devices now indispensable for modern businesses, they would certainly benefit from extended product lifetimes and an opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.
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With 587 votes in favour, nine against and 20 abstentions, MEPs endorsed a deal reached with the Council to overhaul EU rules on batteries and waste batteries. The new law takes into account technological developments and future challenges in the sector and will cover the entire battery life cycle, from design to end-of-life.