Federal Environment Agency of Germany calls for sealed battery ban

Federal Environment Agency of Germany calls for sealed battery ban
The President of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency is quoted as backing a ban on devices with built-in batteries, “That the battery component cannot be easily replaced is grotesque. They must prohibit it.” There are advantages and disadvantages to non-replaceable batteries, but “grotesque” is a bit of a strong word. Based on the notion that replaceable batteries are easier to recycle, and thus more environmentally friendly, the FEA would support a ban on devices with sealed batteries.

Citing an EU initiative called the Ecodesign Directive, FEA would like to see the language in that draft expanded beyond its current scope, which is focused on energy consumption, to include language germane to the construction of the devices and the accessibility of the battery. FEA also says that Germans are at the top of the list in terms of raw material consumption.

Useable battery life is not often cited by manufacturers to any degree. Apple has said that an iPhone battery will retain up to 80% of its capacity following a full charge after 400 full charge cycles. As just about every smart phone needs a nightly charge, that amounts to a little over a year’s worth of use. Naturally, those figures degrade somewhat if the device is kept for a full two-year contract.

When batteries are near the end of their life, there are all sorts of good materials inside which can be recycled for making new batteries. The batteries on devices like the iPhone, Lumia 920 or HTC 8X are impossible to remove without tools (not counting breaking them open) when they are ready to be replaced. Even then, the costs to replace the batteries are often the same or more than what the device is worth, or what it would cost to upgrade equipment on a new service contract.

What has not been made clear is how the Ecodesign Directive would be written and what it would force device manufacturers to accommodate. Would it spell the end of sealed devices? Not likely in the grand scheme. Manufacturers have a lot invested in such designs. Sealed designs allow for custom designed batteries and stronger device builds with fewer breakable parts. However, when the batteries reach their end of life, it limits options to the consumer. Aftermarket components are not an option, yet manufacturer replacements are expensive.

What do you think of this idea? Are sealed device batteries “grotesque?” Or is the answer to address recyclability more easily addressed by minor designs that make extraction of the batteries a little easier?

source: Heise.de via All About Symbian

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29 Comments

1. cncrim

Posts: 1586; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

wow, Iphone need to be redesign if this law apply.... Samsung is laughing and support this 150%. lol.

5. imsickwithphone

Posts: 76; Member since: May 17, 2012

BANNED IPHONE!!

7. blackspot

Posts: 102; Member since: Nov 14, 2012

Apple would be plenty hot! Just about all of their portable devices have built-in batteries.

24. stealthd unregistered

Samsungs tablets wouldn't be safe. Apple isn't the only one with sealed batteries, Motorola, LG, HTC (every other major Android device manufacturer) do as well.

30. TheOldOne

Posts: 196; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

The battery for all devices currently on sale (except maybe the iPod mini) is changeable - you can get your iPhone batter replaced if you feel the need, even for the first generation ones. The change cannot be easy done, meaning is not "user-changeable", which is the spotry here; why would someone have to pay an "authorized service" for doing something that can be easily fixed by a proper device design, beats me.

2. antmiu2

Posts: 550; Member since: Jun 19, 2011

good i dislike the built in batteries trend

4. blackspot

Posts: 102; Member since: Nov 14, 2012

Just imagine what would happen if this ban was adopted by the biggest smartphone markets worldwide...

6. someones4

Posts: 627; Member since: Sep 16, 2012

Apple is grotesque

8. jian9007

Posts: 27; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

I think it's a great idea. People have a hard time recycling their tech as it is. Removable battery just makes more sense to me, as it gives consumers the ability to add capacity easily, as well as making is easy to recycle the old battery.

9. blackspot

Posts: 102; Member since: Nov 14, 2012

Apple: This is MADNESS!!!! The FEA: THIS. IS. GERMANY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

Stupid. Germany really has nothing better to do.

13. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

7 people love government intervention on everything.

16. Mr_Hyde

Posts: 20; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

2 people love to be wasteful & freely pollute the earth.

18. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

Explain how thinking that a ban on handsets without removable batteries is wasteful?

20. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

Edit: Explain how thinking that a ban on handsets without removable batteries is unnecessary wasteful?

22. Mr_Hyde

Posts: 20; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

Explanation #1 - "...the costs to replace the batteries are often the same or more than what the device is worth, or what it would cost to upgrade equipment on a new service contract." Explanation #2 - "When batteries are near the end of their life, there are all sorts of good materials inside which can be recycled for making new batteries." Now, explain how 10 people love government intervention on everything.

23. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

A new iphone 4 battery on eBay cost 10 dollars. Who says you still can't recycle the batteries? People believe that just because they dislike something that there should be a law against it. Asking for this type of government intervention allows for government to intervene on every aspect of our lives. Since something as so trivial as a removable battery can be discussed by government anything in your everyday lives can be discussed and allow for the government to intervene.

17. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

"Germany has nothing better to do." Lol because a country isn't doing much that occupies their time. Your sense of logic puzzles me.

19. vvelez5

Posts: 623; Member since: Jan 29, 2011

It's sarcasm, of course they have better things to do instead of deciding if a company should allow the removal of their batteries or not. If people hated removable batteries so much then it would be a deal breaker for them not to purchase those phones. Since people do buy those phones then it isn't a big deal.

29. kamen

Posts: 103; Member since: Jul 18, 2011

Actually, Germany does crazy lot for enough people... and countries.

11. GoBears

Posts: 456; Member since: Apr 27, 2012

Absolutely no reason to seal in the battery. I'd love to see this ban worldwide.

21. Mr_Hyde

Posts: 20; Member since: Nov 20, 2012

Tell that to the design teams at Apple, Nokia, Motorola, & HTC and see if they agree.

12. g2a5b0e unregistered

I can dig it.

14. jibraihimi

Posts: 802; Member since: Nov 29, 2011

Good decision......... I think they should also make it compulsory for all the OEM's to include microsd slots in the smartphones with 8/16 GB internal memory...........

15. ibap

Posts: 867; Member since: Sep 09, 2009

This is a great idea, both from an environmental standpoint and from a consumer standpoint. Why should you have to essentially buy a new device in order to replace a failing battery? And since you'll have to make a case that you can open and then close up again, how about removable SIM cards as well? (This last aimed at some of the new phones that have them embedded, which also goes against the European GSM systems.) And put a micro SD in there as well.

25. jsdechavez

Posts: 793; Member since: Jul 20, 2012

A sealed design has advantages such as improved durability and the ability put in more parts. But yes, I don't pretty much life the fact that replacement options are nil when the warranty is over for these especially the cost, outrageous!

26. tmcr7

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 02, 2011

I fully support removable batteries, but I believe that the consumers should be the one to decide if they want to buy a sealed device. Besides, if you need to replace the battery, you can always go to a repair center to have it opened without buying a new phone.

27. Tsepz_GP

Posts: 1175; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Excellent :) they should be banned.

28. groupsacc

Posts: 232; Member since: Feb 28, 2012

Sealed battery = reduced product life = more sales.

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