The European Commission proposes one universal charger for electronic devices. Brussels on Thursday submitted a proposal to amend the relevant directive. The proposal will now have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the EU Council. The regulations provide for a 24-month transition period.
The European Commission indicated in a communication that after years of cooperation with the industry on a voluntary approach to the issue, the number of mobile phone chargers has already decreased from 30 to 3 in the last decade, but it has not been possible to fully solve the problem.
The Commission on Thursday unveiled legislation to introduce a single universal charger for electronic devices. KE’s intention is that USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and video game consoles. In addition, the Commission proposes to separate sales of chargers from sales of electronic devices, irrespective of the brand of the device.
This is a step in the fight against electronic waste and the inconvenience for consumers who need to use multiple device chargers at home.
Margrethe Vestager, vice-president of the European Commission, said European consumers have been frustrated long enough with incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers. – We have given the industry a lot of time to propose its own solutions, but it is time for legislative action on a universal charger. This will bring many benefits to consumers and the environment and is in line with our ecological and digital ambitions, she emphasized.
Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton emphasized that as the number of devices grows, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not needed. – We’re done with it. Our proposal will allow European consumers to have a single charger for all portable electronic devices, an important step towards increasing convenience and reducing waste, he pointed out.
Chargers for electronic devices – EC proposal
Harmonized fast charging technology will help prevent unjustified limitation of charging speeds by different manufacturers and will ensure the same charging speed when using any compatible charger for your device.
Consumers will be able to buy a new electronic device without a new charger. This will reduce the number of unnecessary or unused chargers you buy. It is estimated that reducing the production and disposal of new chargers will reduce the amount of electronic waste by almost a thousand tons per year.
Manufacturers will have to provide relevant information on charging efficiency, including information on the power required by the device and possible support for fast charging. This will make it easier for consumers to check that their chargers meet the requirements of the new device or help them choose a compatible charger. Combined with other measures, this would help consumers reduce the number of new chargers they buy and save € 250 million annually in purchasing unnecessary chargers.
Universal chargers – deadline
The proposal for a revised Radio Equipment Directive will have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council under the ordinary legislative procedure (co-decision). A two-year transition period from its adoption will give industry enough time to adapt before it becomes applicable.
In 2020, some 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU. Consumers on average own around three cell phone chargers, two of which are regularly used by consumers. Despite this, 38 percent. of consumers admit that, at least once, they found themselves in a situation where they could not charge their mobile phone because the available chargers were incompatible.
The situation is not only inconvenient but also costly for consumers, who worldwide spend around EUR 2.4 billion a year on separate chargers not supplied with electronic devices. In addition, it is estimated that discarded and unused chargers represent as much as 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste in the world every year.
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