Could scrap-reducing laptop charger catch on?

Could scrap-reducing laptop charger catch on?

By Dan Leif, E-Scrap News

Dec. 20, 2013

A tech group in Switzerland has developed a universal laptop charging standard it says would help significantly reduce the amount of e-scrap disposed of by consumers. Getting manufacturers to adopt the idea, however, could be a challenge.

The International Electrotechnical Commission this week announced the forthcoming publication of the charger specs along with estimates that charger-related e-scrap – from computers and other devices – comes to more than 500,000 tons each year. The idea is that if all laptops used the same external chargers, consumers would be less likely to dispose of a still-working computer if the charger for that machine stopped working.

In 2011, the group published a similar study relating to the charging components of mobile devices, and the notion of universal power components in that realm has gained traction.

Finding similar success with laptops won't be easy. An article on Venture Beat, for instance, points out charging systems tend to vary wildly between different types of notebook computers. Also, many manufactures see the design of their chargers as part of the product brand, so they will likely be unwilling to shift to a universal model.

Still, IEC hopes the environmental argument will help sway consumers and corporate decision makers. "A single power supply covering a wide range of notebook computers is the next step in lowering e-waste and its impact on our planet," said Frans Vreeswijk, the group's general secretary and CEO.

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