March 25, 2023

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The European Parliament has decided to use the USB-C charger for all mobile devices in Europe

The European Parliament gave its final approval on Tuesday for the introduction of a universal charger for all mobile devices in Europe in 2024, reports AFP.

The proposal for a single charging port for mobile devices was launched by the European Commission more than a decade ago after iPhone and Android phone users complained about having to use different chargers for their phones. While iPhones charge via a Lightning port, Android devices are powered via USB-C connectors.

By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and digital cameras sold in the European Union will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. Starting in the spring of 2026, the obligation will extend to laptops. The new law, adopted by the plenary on Tuesday with 602 votes in favor, 13 against and 8 abstentions, is part of a wider European Union effort to reduce e-waste and enable consumers to make more sustainable choices.

Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charger every time they purchase a new device, as they will be able to use a single charger for a wide range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.

Regardless of their manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headsets and headsets, portable video consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, in-ear headphones and rechargeable laptops with wire, which works with a power supply of up to 100 watts, will have to be equipped with a USB type C port.

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All devices that allow fast charging will now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge them just as quickly regardless of the charger they use, as long as it’s compatible.

“The common charger will finally become a reality in Europe. We have waited over ten years for the adoption of these rules, but we can finally leave behind the multitude of chargers. This law adapted to the demands of the future allows the development of innovative solutions charging into the future and will benefit everyone – from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment. We live in difficult times for politics, but we have shown that the EU still has ideas and solutions to improve the lives of millions of people in Europe and inspire others parts of the world to follow his example,” said Parliament’s rapporteur, Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, Malta).

As wireless charging becomes more widespread, the European Commission will have to harmonize interoperability requirements by the end of 2024 to avoid a negative impact on consumers and the environment. Thus, the so-called technological “blockage” effect, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single producer, will disappear.

Special labels will inform consumers about the charging characteristics of the new devices and allow them to more easily see if their existing chargers are compatible. Buyers will also be able to make an informed choice whether or not to purchase a new charger with a new product.

These new obligations will lead to the reuse of more chargers and help consumers save up to €250 million per year on unnecessary charger purchases. In the European Union, discarded and unused chargers represent approximately 11,000 tons of e-waste per year.

The Council will have to formally approve the directive before it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will enter into force 20 days after the date of publication. The countries of the Union will then have 12 months to transpose the rules into national legislation and another 12 months after the end of the transposition period to apply them. The new rules will not apply to products introduced on the market before the date of application.

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