The universal charger for smartphones, a reality in 2024

The European Parliament (EP) approved, on Tuesday in plenary in Strasbourg, the obligation of a universal charger for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU, from the end of 2024.

The obligation to equip devices with a USB Type-C charging port will also apply to laptops, from spring 2026.

The new legislation – passed by 602 votes in favour, 13 against and 8 abstentions – is part of a wider European effort to reduce the amount of e-waste and empower consumers to make more sustainable choices, according to the European Parliament.

When the new rules come into force, consumers will no longer need a different charger for each new device they buy. They will be able to use a single charger for a whole range of small and medium-sized portable electronic equipment.

Regardless of device brand, all new cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, headsets, headsets, portable speakers, portable video game consoles, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation devices, in-ear headphones and cable-rechargeable laptops, with a power of less than or equal to 100 watts, must be equipped with a USB Type-C port.

The charging speed will be the same for all devices with fast charging. Users will then be able to charge their device at the same speed with any compatible charger.

The resolution stipulates the establishment of specific labels which will inform consumers about the charging characteristics of new devices so that they can more easily check the compatibility of the chargers they own. Buyers will thus be able to decide in full knowledge of the facts whether or not to acquire a new charger with their new product.

According to data from the EP, these new obligations will allow consumers to reuse chargers more and save up to 250 million euros per year by avoiding the purchase of unnecessary chargers. Discarded or no longer used chargers represent around 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year in the EU.

From now on, the Council, which represents the Member States, will have to officially approve the directive before its publication in the Official Journal of the EU. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication. Member States will then have 12 months to transpose the rules into national law and an additional 12 months to apply them. The new rules will not apply to products placed on the market before the application date.


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