(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – Europe has reached an agreement on amending the radio equipment directive, which has been amended to introduce a universal charger for all electronic devices. This will reduce waste and make life easier for consumers. The introduction, from autumn 2024, of a single USB-C charger, will cover all small and medium-sized devices in frequent use. The new charger will have a harmonized charging speed for all products that support fast charging. At the time of purchase, consumers will be able to choose whether to buy a new charger or not.
Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT) said: “Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics. We are proud that laptops, e-readers, earbuds, keyboards, computer mice, and portable navigation devices are also included in addition to smartphones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers. We have also added provisions on wireless charging being the next evolution in the charging technology and improved information and labelling for consumers”.
The new rules on the universal charger
The interim agreement introduces a unique charging solution for a number of electronic devices. The amendment of the Directive introduces a broad framework of European efforts to make circulating products in the EU sustainable, reduce e-waste and meet consumer needs.
The new rules apply to mobile phones, smartphones, tablets, e-readers, earphones, digital cameras, headphones and earphones, portable video game consoles and rechargeable portable speakers, which will be equipped with USB Type-C port.
Laptops should be adapted within 40 months of the amendment’s entry into force.
Charging speed will be harmonized, allowing owners of fast charging devices to get the same speed with each universal charger.
How do protect consumers? First of all through more information and choice opportunities.
Consumers will receive clear information about the charging characteristics of their devices at the time of purchase so that they can verify compatibility with existing chargers. They will then be able to choose whether to attach the purchased product to the charger or not.
It is estimated that unused chargers account for about 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year: the introduction of a universal model will also be an incentive for the reuse of chargers, bringing consumers to an estimated savings of around EUR 250 million per year.
The next steps
The formal approval of the agreement and the related publication of the regulation in the EU Official Journal are fixed in the calendar after the summer break. After 20 days from that date, the Agreement shall enter into force. The provisions shall apply 24 months after publication. However, the new rules will not apply to products already on the market.