Manufacturers will be prohibited in the new “EU batteries regulation” from selling phones that necessitate special tools to be opened
In a sweeping change, the European Parliament has approved a new law (EU batteries regulation) mandating all devices to have easily replaceable batteries. This means users will be able to replace batteries themselves when the law is applied, without needing special tools or expertise. The new law prohibits manufacturers from selling phones that require such measures to open up. Only nine out of 587 parliamentarians opposed the change.
However, implementing the law will take some time as it goes into effect 3.5 years from now in early 2027. Previously, smartphones had batteries that could be swapped out with ease but thinner and lighter devices led to inseparable battery packs. Smartphones today have fragile interiors which often invalidate warranties if opened by non-experts since removing back covers can cause damage in most cases.
It will be intriguing to observe how phone manufacturers react to the new law, which requires them to abandon adhesives and adopt a different approach for easily replaceable batteries. Even though this regulation applies only within the European Union, companies may not create phones exclusively for that region. For example, Apple is said to be considering abandoning its Lightning port entirely rather than developing USB-C iPhones specifically for Europe after the EU standardized USB-C.
The first objective of the law is reducing environmental waste, and it encompasses more than solely phones. The MEPs aim to promote greater responsibility from the tech industry concerning batteries in appliances overall. They are enforcing stricter waste collection targets, improving waste recycling efficiency, and requiring electric vehicles to declare their carbon footprint on labels compulsorily.
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