Do you remember the time when you’d drop your phone and it would break open with the back panel and battery scattering like lego pieces? If you’re old enough, you’ll surely recall a time when cell phones were not the sealed metal and glass slabs they are today. They could be easily opened up and the SIM slots were actually inside as opposed to the SIM trays we have now. But most importantly, the battery of the smartphone devices could easily be swapped out for a new one. A battery replacement for newer smartphones is actually a task as wanting slimmer and water-resistant devices has made sealed phones a norm. However, it looks like the high of forcing global tech giants to shift the USB Type-C via a mandate has made the EU confident about having removable batteries in the future.
EU rules on replaceable batteries
The EU recently made USB-C mandatory on smartphones sold in the EU specifically. This move was later reported to be followed by a number of other countries. While the Type-C mandate will go into effect in 2024, the EU is now targeting batteries citing similar sustainability and e-waste control reasons. EU not just wants smartphones to feature easily replaceable batteries but is pushing for the entire life cycle of batteries to be changed. EU states that at least 16% of cobalt, 85% of lead and 6% of lithium contained in a battery should be obtained from recycled sources.
While it is impossible to implement a drastic change like this overnight, the EU has given companies 3.5 years after the legislation is passed to redesign batteries that users can easily remove and replace themselves. In today’s scenario, when a mobile user experiences their battery dying out quickly, replacing them becomes a hassle. Users have to pay exorbitant prices for a battery swap if their device is no longer under warranty which pushes them to buy a new device. Thus, adding on e-waste. It will be interesting to see how tech giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung respond to this change by the EU.