EU closer to introducing a common charger 

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The EU is working on making USB type-C the common charging standard for small electronic devices. Find out what MEPs want from the new law.

Having different chargers for different devices inconveniences consumers and produces tonnes of unnecessary e-waste. To help achieve its environmental objectives and lower costs, the EU wants to introduce one common charger.


That is a step closer after Parliament gave the green light to negotiations with EU countries on the European Commission’s proposal on introducing a single charger for mobile phones and other small electronic devices, such as tablets, e-book readers and smart cameras, at the beginning of May.

What do MEPs want?


MEPs have proposed some improvements to the Commission’s proposal:

Include more devices

The Commission proposal covers mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, handheld videogame consoles, and portable speakers. MEPs want to add e-readers, low-powered laptops, keyboards, mice, earbuds and electronic toys.

Requirements for wireless charging

To keep up with newer technologies, MEPs suggest that the Commission hold off on harmonising wireless charging solutions and incorporating the most appropriate technologies or relevant standards into the legislation until the end of 2026.

No need to buy new device with charger

Under the new law new devices no longer have to be sold with a charger included, so  consumers have the option to buy a new device either with or without a charging device. MEPs want a clear indication of whether a charger is included.

Improved market surveillance

Market surveillance should include safeguards against non-compliant products or non-compliance with information obligations.

Monitoring new technologies

The application of the laws to new charging technologies should be regularly reviewed.

 

Background


The Parliament has been pushing for a common charger for portable devices for more than 10 years. Although some companies introduced voluntary initiatives that decreased the number of charger types, they were insufficient to meet the EU’s objectives on reducing e-waste. The European Commission presented a proposal on the common charger in September 2021. Now that Parliament finalised its position, negotiations with EU countries can start on the final text of the legislation.