EU closer to introducing a common charger
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The EU is working on making USB type-C the common charging standard for small electronic devices. Find out what MEPs want from the new law.
Having different chargers for different devices inconveniences consumers and produces tonnes of unnecessary e-waste. To help achieve its environmental objectives and lower costs, the EU wants to introduce one common charger.
That is a step closer after Parliament’s iInternal market and consumer protection committee backed the European Commission’s proposal on introducing a single charger for mobile phones and other small electronic devices, such as tablets, e-book readers, smart cameras and wearable electronics, on 20 April. 84% Percentage of consumers who experienced problems relating to phone chargers in the previous two years, according to a 2019 study by the European Commission
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What do MEPs want?
MEPs have proposed some improvements to the Commission’s proposal:
Include more devices
The Commission proposal covers mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, handheld videogame consoles, and portable speakers. MEPs want to add e-readers, low-powered laptops, keyboards, mice, earbuds, smart watches and electronic toys.
Requirements for wireless charging
To keep up with newer technologies, MEPs suggest that the Commission harmonise wireless charging solutions and incorporate the most appropriate technologies or relevant standards into the legislation.
No need to buy new device with charger
Under the new law new devices no longer have to be sold with a charger included, so consumers have the option to buy a new device either with or without a charging device. MEPs want the default option to be without a charger, in addition to an indication of whether a charger is included.
Improved market surveillance
Market surveillance should include safeguards against non-compliant products or non-compliance with information obligations.
Monitoring new technologies
The application of the laws to new charging technologies should be reviewed.
Speeding up the new rules
MEPs want to give EU countries one year to implement the new law instead of two years, as proposed by the Commission.
The Parliament has been pushing for a common charger for portable devices for more than 10 years. Although some companies introduced voluntary initiatives that decreased the number of charger types, they were insufficient to meet the EU’s objectives on reducing e-waste. The European Commission presented a proposal on the common charger in September 2021. After Parliament finalises its position, negotiations with EU countries can start on the final text of the legislation.
Find out more
- Common charger: MEPs agree on proposal to reduce electronic waste (20 April 2022)
- Check legislative progress
- Briefing: a common charger for electronic devices