No more proprietary chargers for smartwatches to have less e-waste

No more proprietary chargers for smartwatches to have less e-waste

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Why this petition matters

Started by Samuel B

The research shows that about 231.27 million users will have a smartwatch by 2026 and the disruptive events of the past two years have had no negative impact on the smartwatch market, quite the contrary since the adoption has risen by several percentages. That’s because the smartwatch is not just a luxury item or an unnecessary extension to your smartphone, its potential medical applications put it far above that.
But, this ever growing adoption has already led to a lot of extra e-waste due to the use of proprietary chargers and things are about to get worse.

The argument is not to limit the potential for extra revenue for the manufacturers (arguably), but the devastating impact that this behavior has on the environment due to the ever growing e-waste. And if you thought that all electronics are recycled, well, lots of it ends up in landfills where various toxic materials pollute the air, the water and the land.

Some fantastic advances have been made for other electronic devices that can be charged via a USB-C port, but the smartwatch charging cable needs to attach magnetically to the rear side of the case. This has allowed the manufacturers to choose whichever pattern and size they wanted for the charging cable connector and while the common sense dictated that one metallic pins pattern would be enough for a smartwatch series, it has become common to have one type of charger per device.

So, what can we do about it?
Having a dedicated standard only for smartwatches would substantially limit the number of needed cables per household. For example, a family of four, all members using smartwatches could use one or two cables instead of four and for a lot longer since going for a newer generation of smartwatches would not require a new charging cable.

Some smartwatches can be charged wirelessly (Qi charging) and while I would entertain the possibility for all devices to have this technology built in, it’s not going to happen if the smartwatch costs less than $100. And the inexpensive smartwatches do constitute a large portion of the market, so the potential e-waste would not be negligible.

It’s important to bring more awareness to the damage that millions of cables thrown every year can do to the environment. I am really happy that all smartphones, including iPhones will now have a single charging port (hopefully this trend will propagate outside the EU) and I do hope that the smartwatch manufacturers can also be convinced to do the right thing and adhere to a universal charging standard.

1 has signed. Let’s get to 5!