“The steep increase in the demand for smartphones and tablets, combined [with] their increased functionality, has resulted in increased demand for energy and materials needed to manufacture these devices on the EU market, accompanied by an increase in their associated environmental impacts,” Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen wrote in the proposal. “In addition, devices are often replaced prematurely by users and are, at the end of their useful life, not sufficiently reused or recycled, leading to a waste of resources.”
If adopted, the initiative would also usher in a new energy label for phones and tablets — similar to the ones already in place across Europe for TVs and large household items. The labels would indicate an expected battery life, and include details on water and dust protection, and rate the device’s resistance to drops and scratches. Those manufacturers, meanwhile, that can’t (or won’t) supply batteries for five years must instead meet a set of battery endurance tests that certify devices achieve 80% of a rated capacity after 1,000 full-charge cycles. They’ll also need to ensure software updates never negatively impact battery life.
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