Have you ever read through all the fine print on a product’s packaging and noticed a message about how it includes materials “known to the State of California to cause cancer”? Were you confused because you don’t live anywhere near California? After the state passed a law in the 80s requiring that warning for certain substances, it started appearing on products sold nationwide; after all, it’s much easier for a manufacturer to cater to California’s standards on a national level than it would be to distribute a separate CA-only version of a product. That’s the kind of thinking that could help bring more efficient smartphone chargers to users across the country, as the state has just passed a regulation calling for new controls over chargers that waste power.
As consumer products go, smartphones are relatively good about managing charges; after all, they have a lot more advanced circuitry dedicated to power management than, say, a rechargeable toothbrush. Still, there’s the opportunity for loss, and the wall adapters we use for charging our phones can often serve as that weak link. Leaving them plugged-in unattended only exacerbates the energy lost to them.
We haven’t heard the details on just how strict these new California regulations will be, but anything that means we can continue enjoying our smartphones while making less of an impact on the environment sounds like a good arrangement in our book. The new rules will go into effect next year.