The European Parliament wants to unify chargers for mobile phones and tablets

Chargers for all mobile phones and tablets will be unified if a European Parliament proposal is adopted

This Friday, April 22, the European Parliament took the first step towards the unification of chargers for portable electronic devices, as a measure to reduce electronic waste. A reform of the Radio Devices Directive which will require all manufacturers to install a USB C type connection has been approved by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Commission.

This provision would apply to all cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, consoles and portable speakers. It will apply regardless of the brand or manufacturer, including those of Apple, which until now do not use it.

Only devices too small for this, such as smartwatches, health trackers and some sports equipment, would be exempt from this requirement.

MEPs also want labels to contain clearer information on charging options and indicate whether or not the product includes a charger. This, they say, would help avoid confusion and make buying decisions easier for consumers who don’t always need extra chargers when buying a new device.

With this reform, the Commission will also be able to present before the end of 2026 a regulation that allows a minimum of mandatory interoperability for any new battery charging technology for small devices that standardizes devices and chargers to avoid market fragmentation. Brands that oppose this requirement claim that it reduces the industry’s capacity for innovation.

Alex Agius Saliba, the Maltese Socialist MEP, who is the rapporteur for this proposal, pointed out that some 500 million chargers arrive in the EU every year. They generate between 11,000 and 13,000 tonnes of waste, so streamlining these systems collected by the proposal “will allow old electronics to be reused, saving money and reducing unnecessary costs and inconveniences for businesses and consumers”.

In May, this proposal must be voted on in plenary session. If approved, talks are to begin with member countries in the Council, to define the final shape of the legislation, as reported abscess.

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About Anne Wurtsbach

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