Common charger for mobile devices will soon be a reality as the European parliament on Tuesday passed a new law requiring USB Type-C to be the single charger for all mobile phones and tablets from 2024, a press release by the EU Parliament read. The new law, adopted by plenary on Tuesday with 602 votes in favour, 13 against and 8 abstentions, is part of a broader EU effort to reduce e-waste and to empower consumers to make more sustainable choices.
This move will be benefitting the environment and the consumers. USB Type-C port will be the new standard for portable devices, offering high-quality charging and data transfers. By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C charging port. From spring 2026, the obligation will extend to laptops.
Buyers will be able to choose whether to purchase a new device with or without a charging device. Following Parliament’s approval, EU consumers will soon be able to use a single charging solution for their electronic devices, the press release added. 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 one single charger for a whole range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
Regardless of their manufacturer, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops that are rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port. All devices that support fast charging will now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
This is a key development and encourages technological innovation. As wireless charging becomes more prevalent, the European Commission will have to harmonise interoperability requirements by the end of 2024, to avoid having a negative impact on consumers and the environment, the press release added. This will also get rid of the so-called technological “lock-in” effect, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single manufacturer.
With this, the buyer will be able to make a much more informed choice about whether or not to purchase a new charging device with a new product. Dedicated labels will inform consumers about the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to see whether their existing chargers are compatible. These new obligations will lead to more re-use of chargers and will help consumers save up to 250 million euros a year on unnecessary charger purchases. Disposed of unused chargers accounts for about 11 000 tonnes of e-waste annually in the EU.
Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said, “The common charger will finally become a reality in Europe. We have waited more than ten years for these rules, but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past. This future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future, and it will benefit everyone – from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment. These are difficult times for politics, but we have shown that the EU has not run out of ideas or solutions to improve the lives of millions in Europe and inspire other parts of the world to follow suit” Council will have to formally approve the Directive before it is published in the EU Official Journal. It will enter into force 20 days after publication. Member states will then have 12 months to transpose the rules and 12 months after the transposition period ends to apply them. The new rules would not apply to products placed on the market before the date of application.
In the past decade, Parliament has repeatedly called for the introduction of a common charger. Despite previous efforts to work with the industry to bring down the number of mobile chargers, voluntary measures failed to produce concrete results for EU consumers. The legislative proposal was finally tabled by the Commission on 23 September 2021.