Members of the European Parliament have approved a proposal to introduce a common charger for all portable electronic devices, with the aim of reducing e-waste. The USB type C port will become the standard in the new legislation.
The decision is laid down in the revised radio equipment directive, which aims to ensure that consumers do not need a new charger plus cable when they buy a new device. It applies to all small and medium-sized electronic gadgets, such as cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, portable video game consoles and portable speakers. An exception is made for devices that are too small for the type C port, such as smart watches, health trackers and certain sporting equipment.
The MEP also wants clear information on device packaging about whether a product includes a charger. It also wants to see an end to “lock-in” effects caused by proprietary charging solutions. To this end, the European Commission must present a strategy by the end of 2026 that guarantees minimum interoperability of all new charging solutions.
Rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba (MT, S&D) said the following: “With half a billion chargers for portable devices shipped in Europe every year, generating 11 000 to 13 000 tons of e-waste, everyone would benefit from a single charger for cell phones and other small and medium-sized electronic devices. It will benefit the environment, promote the reuse of old electronics, save money and reduce unnecessary costs and inconvenience for both businesses and consumers.”
The Parliament and the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection have been calling for a common charging solution for the past decade and have continually called on the Commission to take action.