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Charger-free phones to become the norm suggests report

O2 and HTC’s ‘Charger Out of the Box’ pilot scheme has been met with unprecidented popularity suggesting charger-free phones could soon become the norm.

Having launched the ‘Charger Out of the Box’ pilot back in October in an effort to help save the environment, a scheme that saw HTC One X handsets sold without the USB chargers they would normally be packaged with, a new report from the two companies has revealed that a whopping 82 per cent of those buying a charger-free handset did not purchase a separate charger. The figure, which far exceeded expectations, eclipsed O2’s target of 70 per cent reduction in chargers.

The HTC One X handset was offered with just the USB-to-microUSB cable, with the possibility of purchasing the mains charger separately. The pilot suggested that customers already had mains charger that they could reuse with their new phones.

With over 30 million new handsets sold every year in the UK, if the pilot was fully implemented, over 24 million fewer chargers would be sold annually, reducing the harmful impact on the environment.

“More than four-in-five of our smartphone customers who have participated in the trial are willing to buy a new phone from us and to use an existing charging device to attach it to the mains”, said Ronan Dunne, CEO at O2. “The results of the trial demonstrate a clear willingness among consumers to consider and respond to the environmental argument for taking a phone charger-free.”

According to research carried out by O2, nearly 100 million chargers are lying unused in UK homes, either duplicates of existing kit or from out of date gadgets. If you calculated the waste from these chargers you could wrap the O2 arena 200,000 times in copper wire and plastic covering, or fill four Olympic swimming pools with landfill waste if you threw them all away.

“Along with O2, we’ve been encouraged by the numbers of people who have taken our flagship handset without a USB charger,” Phil Robertson, UK Regional Director at HTC said. “This pilot demonstrates that, if we inform our customers about the environmental impact of wasted phone chargers and the benefits of using the chargers and mains adapters that they already own, they respond positively to the message”.

With the ‘Charger Our of the Box’ campaign lining up as part of O2’s three year sustainability plan, named the “Think Big Blueprint”, the network has pledged to supply all its phones charger-free by 2015, instead promoting a single charger and encouraging recycling to help reduce its environmental impacts.

“I now hope that as a result of this study the rest of the industry will now consider joining us in our campaign to take chargers out of the box for good,” Dunne added.

Would you buy a phone without a charger? Do you think more retailers should adopt this environment-saving option? Let us know via our Facebook and Twitter pages or through the comment boxes below.

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