O2 To Stop Selling Phones With USB Chargers By 2015

O2 has said that it will aim to stop providing free mobile phone chargers from 2015.

In a pilot scheme the mobile network sold a handset without a USB charger - the HTC One X+ - and found that 82% did not buy a separate adapter.

It said most customers already had stacks of USB adapters at home, or charged their phones through their computers. It calculated more than 100 million chargers are sitting unused in drawers.

Or to put it another way:

  • A total of 18,700 tonnes of components (the same weight as 1,000 London buses)
  • 124,274 miles of copper wire and plastic covering (enough to wrap the O2 Arena 200,000 times)
  • A volume of landfill equivalent to four Olympic swimming pools if all were thrown away

O2 added that since there are 30 million phones sold a year, if the pilot were repeated with all handsets it would mean 24 million fewer chargers would have to be made - a significant cost and environmental saving.

As a result it will attempt to sell all of its phones without USB chargers by 2015, it claimed in a press release.

But whether or not it will be able to deliver on that aim is unclear. Many of its biggest sellers, like Apple's iPhone, have their chargers placed in the box by the manufacturer, not O2.

It is also possible that Apple et al will stop including chargers anyway - giving O2 a nice PR boost, but not really a central role in saving the world from drowning in USB plugs.

Still, it's a nice gesture, and clearly something its customers are willing to back.

Phil Roberson, regional director of the UK at HTC, said in a statement: "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."