Forgot to rummage through the trash drawer. Soon, Europeans will only need to grab a cable to charge their smartphones and other devices.
European Union officials said they signed an interim agreement on Tuesday that would require a unified charging cord in the 27-nation bloc. It’s part of a broader effort to make products sold in the EU more sustainable and cut down on e-waste.
The new regulations, which will come into force in the fall of 2024, mean that EU consumers will only need to use a generic USB Type-C cable for small and medium-sized portable, rechargeable electronic devices.
Alex Agius Saliba, chief negotiator for the European Parliament, said: “European consumers are frustrated with many chargers piled up in their homes. “They will now be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronic devices, which is an important step towards increased convenience for consumers.”
Covered devices include mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headsets and headsets, handheld video game consoles hand, keyboard and mouse, portable speaker and navigation device.
Laptops are also covered, but manufacturers will have more time to comply.
Apple is a major organization
The rules only apply to devices sold in the European single market, which covers 30 countries. However, like strict EU privacy regulations, they could become the de facto standard for the rest of the world.
While many electronics manufacturers have begun to adopt USB-C sockets into their devices, Apple remains one of the main manufacturers.
Apple, which did not respond to a request for comment, had previously said that it was concerned the rules would limit innovation and harm consumers.
The company’s iPhones come with their own Lightning charging port, although newer models include a cable that can plug into a USB-C socket.
The EU rules also outline standards for fast charging technology and give consumers the choice to buy new devices with or without chargers, which the EU estimates will save consumers 250 million euros ($336 million) per year.
Reducing e-waste is another goal. The EU estimates that discarded or unused chargers cause 11,000 tonnes of e-waste in Europe each year.
Saliba said that according to an impact assessment from the European Commission, the bloc’s governing body, “one in three chargers bundled with these products was never opened from the original packaging. “
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To keep up with the latest advancements, there are also provisions to introduce deeper standards for wireless charging, which he says is seen as the next step forward in charging technology.
The EU has spent more than a decade trying to push the electronics industry to adopt a common charging standard, an effort that slashed the various charging plugs to just a handful until the commission forced the issue. this subject by a draft law last September.
The European Parliament and the European Council are expected to formally approve the agreement after the summer break.