EU proposes a common charger for electronic devices
The EU Commission says it is "Pulling the plug on consumer frustration and e-waste." Following years of work together with the industry to bring down the number of mobile chargers, the Commission is now putting forward legislation to establish a common charging solution for all relevant devices.
Years of working with industry on a voluntary approach has brought down the number of mobile phone chargers from 30 to 3 within the last decade, but could not deliver a complete solution. Therefore, the Commission is proposing a revised Radio Equipment Directive, where the charging port and fast charging technology will be harmonised and USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles. In addition, the Commission proposes to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices. Something that the Commission says will "will improve consumers' convenience and reduce the environmental footprint associated with the production and disposal of chargers." “European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers. We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions,” says Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, in a press release. Commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for the Internal Market, adds: “Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that. With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.” However, as of right now, this is still just a proposal. The revision of the Radio Equipment Directive will now need to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Council by ordinary legislative procedure. The Commission does say that a transition period of 24 months from the date of adoption should give the industry ample time to adapt before the entry into application.