One Plug to Fit Them All

Every newly purchased mobile phone comes with a new charger. Even if you’ve already got a working charger from your last phone, chances are it won’t work with the new one. It’s redundant. Each year manufacturers pump out 51,000 tons (the equivalent of an oversize cruise ship) of redundant phone chargers. No more. The International Telecommunication Union has agreed on a design for a universal charger which will go into production next year. The move to one universal charger, eliminating the need for redundant models, is a move predictedto reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13.6 million tons annually. It’s one cheap fix for global warming among many. [%comments]


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  1. Crust says:

    “It’s one cheap fix for global warming among many. ”

    That’s the right philosophy. Al Gore makes the same point using the phrase “silver buckshot” in contrast to “silver bullet”. The idea being we’re not necessarily looking for a single solution to global warming (or many other problems for that matter), but rather the cumulative effect of many changes.

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  2. sandhya says:

    Hallelujah! That’s something that always bothered me.

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  3. JeffC says:

    Don’t tell Al Gore!

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  4. Philippe says:

    The universal charger not only eliminates the need to ship a full fledged charger with every phone, but it can also reduce the number of chargers needed per person. There will be no need for an extra charger at work or when traveling, because you will always find a USB socket to plug your phone. We can only hope digital sound players and cameras will follow suit (that’s harder for cameras because of the limited current of the USB2 spec).

    Many cars already offer usb plugs, so car chargers will be made redundant, too.

    It is surprising though that it took so long to come to such an agreement. I don’t figure how phone manufacturer benefited from the status quo ?

    The same questions can be asked for the handsfree plugs, which used to be model-specific (yes, each brand changed its own plug every now and then…)

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  5. Shine says:

    Thank God!

    Now if only the laptop makers would agree on a standard…

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  6. Ralph J Begley says:

    Finally, someone has noticed the ridiculous and wasteful practice of the electronics industry to engineer a new AC adapter for every new device. Try designing an adapter that will meet the power requirements of all new devices.

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  7. Jim says:

    Not being an electrical engineer and not knowing the details, I’d love a universal charger for just about any hand held device: cell, MP3, digital camera, DS, etc.

    My concern isn’t so much as having to lug all of these chargers around, especially when on vacation, but just remembering which one plugs into which other one.

    I’m waiting for the day when I plug in the wrong unlabeled charger and fry a device.

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  8. Mike says:

    I think this is starting to change already. Lots of phones these days (especially smart phones) come with a standard mini-USB charger.

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