'One size fits all': EU secures deal on universal charger from 2024

'One size fits all': EU secures deal on universal charger from 2024
All electronic devices must have the USB Type-C portal from autumn 2024. Credit: Canva

The unnecessarily large offering of various types of chargers will soon become something of the past, or at least in the European Union, as the Parliament and Council have both agreed on a deal for one universal charger.

On Tuesday, following years of discussions on the topic — political groups called for an agreement on one common charger for the EU in early 2020— the EU's institutions came to a provisional agreement by making the USB Type-C the common charging port for all mobile phones, tablets and cameras in the EU from autumn 2024.

"European consumers were long frustrated with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics," Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said.

The move has been estimated by the European Commission to save around €250 million for European consumers who waste their money on unnecessary charger purchases. With the new regulation coming into force, buyers will soon be able to choose whether to purchase a charger when buying a new device.

The Commission will also be responsible for monitoring whether companies selling products in the various member states are following the directive.

“All companies wishing to place products on the EU market will have to comply with these rules. The rules will start to apply 24 months after the entry into force,” one EU Parliament press officer told The Brussels Times.

Regardless of the manufacturer, products new to the market must all be equipped with the USB Type-C port. Other electronic devices, from laptops, e-readers and keyboards to portable navigation devices, headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers are also included in the agreement.

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Aside from curbing e-waste — disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to represent about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste in the EU annually.

The charging speeds will also be harmonised for devices that support fast charging. The parliament had previously agreed on one common charging portal, however, the Council has now also backed it.

Following the summer break, the Parliament and Council will have to formally approve the agreement before it is published in the EU Official Journal. The provisions are expected to apply after 24 months.

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