LONDON (AP) — Soon, only one charger will be needed for all smartphones and other portable electronic devices sold in Europe.
European Union officials said they signed a provisional agreement Tuesday that will require a uniform charging cord in the 27-nation bloc. It’s part of a wider effort to make products more sustainable and cut down on electronic waste.
The new rules, which will take effect by fall 2024, mandate a common USB Type-C cable for small and medium-sized rechargeable, portable electronic devices.
“European consumers were frustrated with multiple chargers piling up within their homes,” Alex Agius Saliba, the European Parliament’s lead negotiator, said at a press briefing in Brussels. “Now, they will be able to go with a single charger for all portable electronics, which is an important step to increase consumer convenience.”
The devices covered include mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles, keyboards and mice, portable speakers and navigation devices.
Laptops also are covered, but manufacturers will have extra time to comply.
The rules apply only to devices sold in the European single market, which consists of 30 countries. However, like the EU’s strict privacy regulations, they could end up becoming a de facto standard for the rest of the world.
While many electronics makers have started adopting USB-C sockets for their devices, Apple has been one of the main holdouts.
Apple, which did not respond to a request for comment, has previously said it is concerned the rules would limit innovation and hurt consumers. The company’s iPhone has a Lightning charging port, though newer models include cables that can be plugged into a USB-C socket.
The EU rules also outline standards for fast charging technology and give consumers the right to choose whether to buy new devices with or without a charger, which the EU estimates will save consumers 250 million euros ($266 million) a year.
Reducing electronic waste is another goal. The EU estimates disposed or unused chargers account for 11,000 metric tons of e-waste in Europe every year.
“One in every three chargers that is bundled with these products is never opened from its original packaging,” according to the European Commission’s impact assessment, Saliba said.
Krugman: The state of crypto: From the Big Short to the Big Scam
Source:: The Mercury News