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Shopper appalled by marketing of ‘terrible’ product: ‘How is this even legal?’

“That’s terrible.”

"That's terrible."

Photo Credit: iStock

A photograph of a single-use phone charger with misleading “green” marketing sparked outrage on Reddit.

The photo depicts a retail display of emergency single-use phone chargers. The packaging prominently features green recycling logos and the slogan “Charge Your Phone, Change the Planet.” But the Redditor who posted the photo disagreed.

“You can mail them back to be recycled, but what percentage of people do you think actually bother to?” they wrote.

single-use phone charger
Photo Credit: Reddit
single-use phone charger
Photo Credit: Reddit

And the commenters agreed. “That’s some insane greenwashing,” one person wrote. Another asked, “Wow, how is this even legal?” And a third simply stated, “That’s terrible.” 

The chargers were made by a company called ChargeTab, whose website lacks specifics about their sourcing, recycling, and energy usage. On the FAQ page, they do confirm that their products cannot be recharged and must be “disposed of” once they’re used.

“How much energy do you think they use to source, refurbish and package these low grade batteries in comparison to the amount of use you get?” another Reddit user wrote — and with “up to” a four-hour charge, people weren’t optimistic.

There has been growing attention and alarm over the sheer volume of e-waste, or electronic waste, being produced. Globally, more than 59,000 tons of chargers are trashed each year according to the U.N., and this is just one small factor in the more significant e-waste issue.

Other major sources of e-waste include the improper disposal of large electronics (like wasted opportunities to recycle, gift, or resell them), the use of nonrecyclable alkaline batteries, and more.

“Putting all the effort and resources into getting a single extra use is bats*** insane. The extra resources would be somewhat justified if you’re going to have at least a few useful months of life from the battery, but one extra use? Absolute waste of effort,” another Redditor commented.

The photo reinforces why it’s critical to be alert to the frequency of greenwashing, make an effort to support circular brands, and properly recycle electronics whenever possible. And besides being better for the planet, paying attention to how you discard belongings helps you to save money. Many companies offer trade-in value and store credit for old electronics, helping to keep money in your pockets and electronics out of landfills.

“Change the planet,” one person wrote, referring to the sign next to the batteries, “for the worse!”

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