Remember when virtually every smartphone had an easily replaceable battery? It’s something you rarely see these days, but that could change if a European Commission draft proposal gets passed.
It’s been a few years since most (but not all) companies started making handsets with fixed, non-removable backs, meaning swapping out the batteries became a very difficult task. It did bring benefits such as improved waterproofing and larger batteries, but not everyone was happy about the change. The EU, however, could soon force manufacturers to make battery replacements easier.
Dutch financial publication Het Financieele Dagblad (via XDA Developers) writes that the draft plan covers phones, tablets, and wireless headphones. As replacing batteries in modern smartphones is very difficult and risky, the EU believes making them easily swappable will extend the life of a device, thereby generating less e-waste.
It’s reported that Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the ‘Green Deal’ at the European Commission, will be presenting the plan in mid-March. It also includes proposals for increasing guarantee periods, enforcing wider product recycling, making repair instructions easier to find, and a Europe-wide collection system for unwanted consumer electronics. Timmermans also wants an EU ban on the destruction of unsold electronic items, which will encourage the re-use of raw materials and reduce the waste exports to other countries.
It was only a few weeks ago that the EU voted to force manufacturers to adopt a common standard (USB Type-C) for wired and wireless chargers—another way of reducing e-waste. Apple, which still uses the Lightning connector for its iPhones, isn’t happy about the decision, and has argued it “stifles innovation” and would inconvenience millions of people.
It appears that many people would like to see easily removable batteries once again become the standard.