The single charger arrives, what changes and from when: the list of devices

For over ten years, Europe has been moving towards this great resultwhich will now finally be a reality. The European Parliament has repeatedly called for the introduction of a universal charger for all electronic devices. Despite various attempts to work together with the industries that produce them to reduce their numbers, the voluntary measures have not produced concrete results for consumers in the Union.

According to data released by Brussels, in 2020, around 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU. Consumers own around 3 smartphone chargers on average and use two on a regular basis. Nonetheless, 38% of consumers say they have had difficulty charging their mobile phone at least once because the available chargers were incompatible.

Obviously this creates inconvenience, but above all incredible costs for consumers, who spend billions of euros a year to buy separate battery chargers not included in the purchase of electronic devices. Not to mention the damage to the environment: estimates indicate that discarded and unused chargers represent up to 11,000 tons of electronic waste each year. A frightening number.

Final green light to the universal charger: the stages

The Commission has supported a standardized charging solution since 2009 for mobile phones and similar electronic devices that allow them to meet consumers and the environment. Since then it has attempted a voluntary agreement between operators in the sector, which has led to the adoption of the first memorandum of understanding and has made it possible to reduce the number of charging solutions for mobile phones available on the market from 30 to 3. But it is not enough.

Following the expiry of the protocol in 2014, industry operators presented a new proposal in March 2018, which however proved insufficient to provide a standardized charging solution or meet the need to reduce inconvenience to consumers and electronic waste.

The new law just passed is part of a wider EU effort to reduce e-waste and enable consumers to make more sustainable choices. The legislative proposal was presented by the EU Commission on 23 September 2021 and now, finally, we are at a turning point.

Parliament has finally approved EU legislation that will allow consumers to use a single charger for all mobile phones, tablets and other devices.

“The common charger will finally be a reality in Europe. We have waited more than ten years for these rules, we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past, ”said Parliament rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba. “This future-proof law enables the development of innovative charging solutions and 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 of people in Europe and to inspire other parts of the world to follow suit ”.

What changes for consumers: all the benefits

Thanks to special labels, consumers will be informed about the charging characteristics of the new devices and can easily understand if their chargers are compatible. So we will all make more informed choices and decide whether or not to buy a new charging device with each new product.

What will concretely change for us consumers? In fact, that the USB-C port will become the new standard and will offer high quality charging and data transfer capability.

Specifically, for each of us, we will no longer need a charger every time we buy a new electronic device, because the same charger can be used on a whole range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices. We will of course decide whether to buy a new device with or without a charger.

These new obligations will lead to greater reuse of chargers and help consumers to save up to € 250 million per year on the purchase of unnecessary chargers and up to 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year in the EU.

Here the household appliances that consume the most (with many surprises).

Universal charger: since when?

Given the rapid spread of wireless, ie wireless chargers, the European Commission will have to harmonize interoperability requirements, to avoid a negative impact on consumers and the environment. This will also make it possible to get rid of the so-called technological “lock-in”, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single producer.

The Council will now have to formally approve the directive, which will enter into force 20 days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. EU countries will have 12 months to transpose the rules and 12 months from the expiry of the transposition period for their application.

But when will the great charger revolution start? Brussels makes it known that by the end of 2024 all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the European Union will need to be equipped with a USB-C charging port. From the spring 2026, the obligation will extend to laptops.

Electronic devices for which there will be a single charger

The new rules will cover only products placed on the market after the date of application.

Regardless of the manufacturer, all new electronic devices operating with power up to 100 Watts will need to be equipped with a USB-C port. All devices that support fast charging will have the same charging speed, which will allow users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.

Which devices will the new rules apply to? Here is a list:

  • cell phones
  • Tablet
  • digital cameras
  • earphones and headphones
  • handheld video game consoles
  • portable speakers
  • e-readers, keyboards
  • mouse
  • portable navigation systems
  • headphones and laptop rechargeable via cable.

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About Eric Wilson

The variety offered by video games never ceases to amaze him. He loves OutRun's drifting as well as the contemplative walks of Dear Esther. Immersing himself in other worlds is an incomparable feeling for him: he understood it by playing for the first time in Shenmue.

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