Smartphones: universal charger becomes mandatory in the EU
Apple phones will have to be equipped with a USB-C port by 2024 in Europe.
The European Parliament gave the final blow to the mess of tangled chargers on Tuesday overflowing drawers: within two years, smartphones, tablets and other small electronic devices sold in the European Union (EU) will all have to have the same charger.
After this plebiscite vote by MEPs in Strasbourg, the USB-C type port will have to become the only charger for portable electronic devices sold in the EU by autumn 2024.
This pioneering law in the world becomes reality, to the chagrin of Apple, which in June criticized a text that it accused of stifling it innovation and cut off the EU – subject to a choice of outdated standards – from the rest of the world.
It's a great day for consumers, a great day for our environment, rejoiced, in the hemicycle of the European Parliament, Maltese Labor MEP Alex Agius Saliba, rapporteur for the text voted by 602 votes (13 votes against, 8 abstentions).
This is the past!, he had launched, during a debate a few hours earlier, waving a tangle of motley chargers, such as are found in the drawers of most Europeans.
This obligation will apply to mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, headphones, digital cameras, wireless headphones, portable video game consoles, GPS devices, computer keyboards and mice. computers, as well as portable speakers. And this, regardless of their manufacturer.
Laptops will also be affected in the first half of 2026.
I am convinced that many countries will follow the example of the EU. We will be leaders, Bulgarian Andrey Kovachev, of the main EPP (right-wing) political group, estimated on Tuesday.
While there were still around thirty different models, there About ten years ago, the number of existing types of chargers for new electronic devices has already been gradually greatly reduced.
There are now three of them: the Micro USB connector that has long fitted the majority of phones, USB-C, a newer connection, and Apple's Lightning charging technology.
Once the last purely procedural endorsement of the Council of the EU (Member States) and the publication of the law in the Official Journal, European countries will have two years to implement it. So by fall 2024.
This transition period should allow manufacturers to adapt their production chain, explained Margrethe Vestager, vice- President of the European Commission.
In addition, consumers will now have the choice of buying a new electronic device with or without a charger.
The text also harmonises technology fast charging to prevent the charging speed from being restricted when using a charger from a brand different from the device.
As it becomes more and more widespread, wireless charging will also have to meet interoperability requirements by the end of 2024, which the European Commission must harmonize.
The deployment of a single loader will represent at least 200 million euros in savings per year for European consumers and will reduce more than one million tonnes waste every year, Vestager pointed out.
According to European institutions, discarded or unused chargers currently account for around 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year.
But it's the very small visible part in the iceberg of the environmental impact of digital technology, noted French environmentalist MEP David Cormand, referring to the environmental impact of digital technology. planned obsolescence or the low durability and repairability of electronic devices.
The wire [of the charger] must not be there to hide the forest of the ecological disaster that digital represents, he criticized.