Since I was young, I have been slave to a small plastic plug-in creature with a long, long tail. This small creature (or the plethora of creatures I have acquired and collected over the years) has brought me life through social networking, communicating, and even time wasting. Coming in black or white, this long-tailed creature attaches to my different pseudo-limbs, acting as a sorcerer by bringing life back into the dead. This creature is widely known as the “charger” with its tail as it’s charging cable.
Chargers, coming in every shape and size from small mini-boxes to large loading docks, have been a part of my life ever since cellular and wireless technology has. The first time I can vividly remember falling victim to the charger in my everyday life was with my hot pink iPod mini back in elementary school, moving on to a more severe and necessary cell phone charger in middle school. Since then, it has become the respirator for my constantly failing heart of a cell phone.
Over the course of my many years owning a cell phone, I have obtained a multitude of different chargers of various brands, shapes, sizes and lengths. From my old Nextel construction worker phone’s charger (a large and bulky Nextel-specific charger) to the chargers of my many different BlackBerrys (either a simple micro-USB or a mini-USB charger), I moved on to the iPhone 4S (classic apple charger) and then the iPhone 5 (a newer apple charger) and then to my current Samsung telephone (a micro-USB). It’s been a wild ride for my chargers, for (in most cases) with each new phone I get, a new charger accompanies it, leaving the previous charger out to collect dust in a small drawer located in my house.
The most interesting thing is that even with all of my new chargers and new telephones, my current piece of technology has had me resort back to my old technology. My Samsung Galaxy S5 has currently acquired the void space in my Generation-Y body meant for cell phones, and with it comes the need for a previously discarded charger – the good ol’ Blackberry charger. Although the BlackBerry charger is patented and meant for use with only specifically BlackBerry phones, the micro-USB that is attached to it’s long cable-tail is a universal charger for most non-Apple small technology products on the market today (even including digital cameras and tablets). Once put aside for a shiny new Apple product, the BlackBerry charger has now become a part of my life once again as the charger for my Samsung product, although I’m not sure BlackBerry would be too happy about me using their product in tandem with another company’s product. Because they both use the same type of micro-USB port, the BlackBerry charger has worked effectively and efficiently, almost better than the charger the Samsung originally came with, since its revival from the depths of my dusty drawer.
These chargers occupy a space both in my home and in my heart. Because of my recent revival of a charger, I feel as if all of these chargers have a continued lifespan and aren’t necessarily subjected to an irrevocable death. The once beloved Nextel charger might not have a place in my life anymore, but paired with the working telephone, it has the potential to serve as a working communicative tool to someone who might need it. My naïve self once thought the switch from BlackBerry to Apple would be a permanent one, but the frustrating difference in chargers of different Apple products proved too demanding for me, and resulted in the switch to my glorious new Samsung. The charger’s versatility – namely, the capability to hook up the phone to a HDMI cable – has proved itself worthy of my usage. Although I have gone through a plethora of chargers, one thing remains the same: the product has no life (and is therefore useless) without its charger.
Now, if I had not found a use for this beloved BlackBerry charger, it would be still be sitting in my home collecting dust in that same dusty drawer it was sitting in before. BlackBerry, a giant Canadian-based telecommunication and wireless company, produced this product with intent to be used on one of their products that was made years and years ago. Now, since times have changed and people have moved on from their older BlackBerry phones, their chargers have become obsolete. In the year 2014 alone, they have come out with multiple new products (for example, The BlackBerry Curve, revamped), introduced new mergers and signed major contracts.
Implemented in the year 2013, BlackBerry installed a “sustainable innovation” initiative in the company, stating that they use the “sustainable materials” and recycle them back to those materials after their products become unusable. One aspect of the initiative is their new recycling site, or the “BlackBerry Recycling Program,” that allows customers with BlackBerry products to send in their unused tech devices pre-paid to a plant in Illinois (with the exceptions of some states that they suggest going to a specific drop-off plant). I called BlackBerry with questions, asking where the specific product goes after it’s sent to this P.O. Box in Illinois, but my question was left unanswered when the customer service representative was unaware the program even existed. BlackBerry is attempting to make their company a “greener” business, chock full of new sustainability programs and cradle-to-grave programs; however, they are not well known and readily available without research.
The companies that are involved in making products that become obsolete continue to make new products that are put into landfills and are considered techno-trash. BlackBerry, on the other hand, has implemented recycling within the company, allowing consumers to send back their products to be recycled. Unfortunately, consumers (like myself), who most probably have their old phones and chargers sitting, collecting dust, do not (readily) know these programs. The mentality of giant companies, like BlackBerry, is to create tons of products like these chargers that the consumer can use for a short while and then throw out due to the new product coming out and needing a new set of accessories. Unlike most companies, BlackBerry is at least trying to become more sustainable with their recycling program, allowing these consumers to send in their old phones for free when they get a new one so the endless clutter can be diminished.
Of course, both the consumer and the company producing the product are responsible for the techno-trash that they produce in their lifetime. But, is the consumer solely responsible for finding this program on his or her own? Should the company, although they have these programs, allow other products that aren’t of the specific brand to be recycled as well? Because of this program, my BlackBerry brand charger will now be taken care of once it’s obsolete, but what happens to the other chargers I’ve accumulated? My switch from BlackBerry to the iPhone then to Samsung has resulted in a large amount of techno-trash, yet the chargers that I have used throughout my journey have come full-circle. These small creatures, even the ones that have been shoved away for years, can now live a happy life once again.
BlackBerry – ICD Research (Timeline of Events) – History. (February 5, 2015): LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2015/02/19.
“BlackBerry – BlackBerry Recycle – US.” BlackBerry – BlackBerry Recycle – US. BlackBerry,
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“Sustainability at BlackBerry.” Product Sustainability. BlackBerry, 2015. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.