On Tuesday, the European Union agreed to require all new smartphones, tablets, and computers to use a standard charger by 2026.
“This new rule will make European customers’ lives easier and better for the environment,” said MEP Andrey Kovatchev, praising the deal between the EU Member States and the European Parliament on a single standard for charging ports.
According to policymakers, the initiative will cut electronic waste. However, corporations such as Apple opposed the new law, claiming that it would hamper the development of new charging technology. A European standards organisation will review future charging designs for all devices covered by the legislation.
Beginning in mid-2024, the USB Type-C port will be the standard for all smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and other devices. The European Parliament has been advocating for a single charger for more than a decade, according to Kovatchev, who oversaw the EPP Group’s legislative negotiations.
“There is a big benefit for the environment – it is time to put an end to the piles of cables that we all have in our drawers and save about 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year”, said Kovatchev.
“Our approach was very ambitious from the beginning: we want the list of types of devices covered by the common charger to be significantly increased without hampering innovation. The European Parliament pushed for devices such as tablets, e-readers, laptops, digital cameras, smartwatches and headphones to be included. We also agreed that customers need to have more freedom to buy a device without any charging device if they so wish”, Kovatchev continued.
“Last but not least, we aimed to provide customers and manufacturers with clear, easy-to-understand labels on the type of charger included (or not) with the particular devices”, concluded Kovatchev.
To limit the number of chargers in circulation, companies will be required to sell gadgets without a charger. The European Commission, the bloc’s executive body, claims that unused and discarded chargers generate 11,000 tonnes of garbage each year.
“A common charger is a common sense for the many electronic devices in our daily lives,” Thierry Breton, the European commissioner who helped negotiate the deal, said.