In a world already drowning in e-waste, one company has added more fuel to the fire with a tech device designed to be trashed – the disposable “pop charger.”
The picture shows an unopened packet containing a pre-charged wireless charger, billed as an “emergency charger” for those whose phone battery is running low on the go.
Crucially, the packet bears the word “disposable” on its front, which implies that buyers can throw it in the trash when they are done using it.
“eWaste is getting out of hand,” the Redditor wrote in a caption.
Although alkaline batteries are no longer considered toxic by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and can be put into your general household waste, they still contribute to the growing mass of solid waste that municipalities are struggling to shrink (in addition, California still considers these batteries toxic).
Americans throw away more than 3 billion batteries each year, which amounts to 180,000 tons of waste — 86,000 tons of that comes from single-use alkaline batteries.
Rather than clamping down on the amount of solid waste we produce, the problem is getting worse. The World Bank says we already produce 2.2 billion tons of waste globally each year, which could grow to 3.7 billion tons by 2050.
The world cannot accommodate that much trash. In 2018, the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance (SWEEP) predicted that the U.S. would run out of landfill capacity by around 2036.
Not to mention the hazard that batteries present once they reach landfills. Even a small amount of charge on a battery can cause fires, which releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere.
“This absolutely sucks but makes me realize how bad AA/AAA disposable batteries are,” another commented. “I’m glad that we’ve largely moved past them (they used to be in everything) but there’s really no reason we should be using them at all.”
One user was shocked that pop chargers even exist, saying, “Omg that can’t be a thing.” Another simply called the invention “gross.”
Join our free newsletter for weekly updates on the coolest innovations improving our lives and saving our planet.