OPINION: Removing chargers is not environmentally friendly. Removing features overall harms the consumer

We’re in an age where removing features instead of gaining them apparently has an advantage.

iPhone 12. A phone without a 3.5mm jack or charger inside.

You may be aware of the situation where companies have started removing the charger, right after they have started making headphone jacks endangered or extinct. Multiple companies, particularly Xiaomi and Apple have cited environmental concerns which I think is pure BS considering now, customers have to buy a separate piece of charger on a separate larger box. And if you wanted to buy earphones since phones no longer include them, it’s either you buy wireless, buy a dongle, or get USB-C. While there are several choices, see how much packaging they consume, versus phones that do come with both the charger and headphones. Not only you do get quality sound and guaranteed manufacturer-recommended charging speeds, but also you save the environment in the long run because you spend less packaging and clutter.

Customers are not obliged to buy phones though, and manufacturers tell you this warning early on before they sell it to you, so you should be aware. The MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology) China has told consumers this, so the trend of not having chargers will prevail in China, and soon, through the rest of the world. They cited that so as long the customers have been informed and do not cause negative health effects, it would be okay.

Speaking of packaging, when you get a phone with both the chargers and earphones inside, delivery trucks would be able to save more space since they have less to put inside boxes. Sure you can say that the boxes are small, but they still occupy space, and manufacturers still wasted plastic. I also don’t agree with the “you already have one” sentiment. To me, companies assume that everyone somehow uses a new or barely used charger.

18W fast charger included on the TCL 10 5G

There are several instances that users keep their already aging charger for long, and they have very very slow charging speeds. Not only they have deteriorated but also they can harm the battery passively. Users are also not taking advantage of the charging speeds the phone has, you know, those “fast charging” tech everyone has been bragging about. Customers are more likely to dispose of their old chargers anyway, so the effects of it economically and environmentally are nullified.

I’ve used both wireless and wired earphones in the past. No matter which I used, the one with the auxiliary plug still sounds better, and they are also much much cheaper to buy. Because phones now don’t have headphone jacks, in order to use my old earphones, I have to buy a dongle. While they are not expensive, not every dongle will work for your phone, so adding to the inconvenience is finding the dongle that works best for you. Keep in mind that not all manufacturers sell dongles for your 3.5mm jack because they would more than likely push you to buy wireless, which by the way, uses battery and battery manufacturing harms the environment more than tiny, thin copper wires. There is also USB-C earphones which are disgustingly expensive and not a whole lot of demand for them. I’ve used them before, particularly the one Xiaomi manufactured, and they sound absolutely terrible, even worse than some quality Php200 3.5mm earphones. Even the Xiaomi basic earphones sound better than it.

It’s quite a surprise that manufacturers still are generous enough to give you a silicone case for free

Like Arun said in his video, I won’t be surprised if manufacturers started removing the free cases on their phones for the same invalid “environmental concerns”. Well, they do care about going green alright, so as long the green has a “$” symbol on it. If you buy it offline, then good, you can install the case immediately, but they would often be packaged in separate plastics even then. If you buy online, imagine the horror of keeping things clean. You have to buy either wireless, dongles, or a set of 3.5mm standard earphones, a separate charger, AND a case to go along with it. They come in separate packaging too, and that packaging also includes paperwork, some plastics, and other things. These accessories are then packaged in a box which is usually made of cardboard. Meaning, manufacturers probably cut more trees than they would have by simply not removing them out of greed. This is further proven when Apple has reportedly gained around $6.5 billion by not including the charger. Removing features is a good thing now apparently.

So you may have seen an article that is less of an article, but rather a full-blown rant about how Samsung is starting to experiment their agenda on the midrange A series. For those who are unaware, Samsung has released the A33, A53, and A73. What do they have in common? None of them have headphone jacks or chargers. Yeah, right after mocking Apple for doing the same thing. Makes them look like clowns that ate their own words. The tomfoolery!

It is sad to see that budget phones are now more consumer-friendly than supposedly high-grade flagship phones. It seems to me that the more expensive the phone is, the fewer features it has when it should be equal. Sure, multiple budget phones don’t really get the fast 33 or 67W fast chargers, but they still do provide at least 10W. It’s better than nothing. The lack of headphones is understandable though, as most budget phones never really had their own, even before the 3.5mm extinction event.


Samsung Galaxy A73 5G. A midrange phone lacking the jack and charger

I believe that the “environmental concerns” statement is nothing but an excuse to sell you a charger. It would help the environment more in the long run if companies simply included them because they would cost less packaging. It saves time for the consumers too in running into the store (which uses fuel, assuming the consumer has to drive to get there) and buying new ones, and they also get the manufacturer-approved charging rate and speeds.

As for the 3.5mm headphones and headphone jacks; while wireless earbuds are all the rage, the high-quality ones are still far more expensive than those with the auxiliary 3.5mm jacks. They also contain batteries and have a casing with some metals in it so you can charge it, as opposed to including the earphones with the phones where it would more likely produce fewer e-wastes. According to TheWorldCounts, there are approximately 50 million tons of e-wastes manufactured every year. With what businesses are doing, that number would rapidly increase. It’s either they only think short-term or they’re thinking about profits, most likely the latter.

In addition, 3.5mm earphones just sound way better because they have a plug designed to deliver quality sound, as opposed to Bluetooth and USB-C earphones which are not really designed for audiophiles to enjoy. Granted there are people who would rather spend about Php2,000 on wireless earbuds because the wires trap and tangle themselves, but you couldn’t deny that the 3.5mm earphones just sound way better. Also removing the headphone jack is an environmental waste because now you have to buy a dongle that comes with its own packaging.

Removing features for the sake of the “environment” is not only just a hypocritical statement but also harms the environment and the consumers long term.