The countries of the European Union (EU) and the negotiators of the European Parliament announced on Tuesday an agreement to impose a single, universal charger for smartphones, tablets, and wearable devices no later than fall 2024.
The normative will impose a USB-C port for all those devices with the aim of limiting the toxic waste of thousands and thousands of cables of various formats, and defend consumer rightsforced for now to accumulate various chargers.
The project had faced fierce opposition from tech giant Applewhich defends its Lightning connection and charging technology.
The European Commissioner for Industry, Thierry Breton, welcomed the agreement and mentioned on Twitter that “the general interest of the European Union has prevailed”.
The agreement means “more savings for EU consumers and less waste for the planet”. The accumulation of 11,000 tons of electronic waste per year would be avoided, according to estimates by the European Commission.
In a press release, the European Parliament noted that the project “is part of a broader EU effort to make products in the EU more sustainable, reduce electronic waste and make life easier for consumers.”
Thus, “consumers will no longer need a different device and charging cable every time they buy a new device, and will be able to use one charger for all their small and medium portable electronic devices,” the note added.
The Parliament also highlighted that the charging speed will be “harmonized for devices that support fast charging, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger”.
The European Commission has been promoting this agreement for thirteen years, when in 2009 it reached a voluntary agreement with the main manufacturers of mobile devices, which allowed to reduce the existing chargers from 30 to three: USB 2.0 Micro B, USB-C and Lightningexclusive to Apple.
That pact, however, expired in 2014 and last September the Community Executive launched a new proposal that came to fruition today, in an agreement that will still have to be formally ratified by the Council of the EU -the institution that represents the countries- and by the European Parliament.
At the moment, the single charger will not be compatible with laptops, smart watches or devices that measure physical activity, for technical reasons such as its size.
“Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers have long been frustrated with the accumulation of multiple chargers with each new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices”, said the rapporteur of the proposal in the European Parliament, the Social Democrat MEP Alex Agius Saliba.
(with information from AFP and EFE)