European countries and legislators in Parliament have agreed to adopt a universal charger for smartphones, tablets and wearable devices starting in the fall of 2024.
The standard establishes that all devices will have a USB-C port with the purpose of “limiting the toxic waste of thousands and thousands of cables of various formats, and defending the right of consumers, forced for now, to accumulate various chargers.“
Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Industry, stressed that the agreement was reached after nine months of negotiations, which in his opinion means “that we can move quickly when there is a political disposition.” He also indicated that the general interest of the European Union has prevailed.
The legal agreement must be formally ratified by the European Parliament, as well as by the 27 states of the block, before it can enter into force.
Sustainable products for the EU
In an official statement, the European Parliament explained that these legal regulations are part of a broad effort being made by the eurozone to obtain more “sustainable” products, reduce electronic waste and make life easier for consumers.
With the use of the universal charger, users will not need different cables to charge their new devices since they can use the same charger for all “small and medium portable electronic equipment.”
The Parliament also highlighted that the charging speed will be “harmonized for devices that support fast charging, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger”.
For his part, MEP Andrey Kovatchev indicated that the regulations will make life easier for consumers in the eurozone and improve the environment. “It’s time to put an end to the bundles of cables that we all have in our drawers, and reduce about 11,000 tons of electronic waste per year,” he affirmed.
The figures that the EU manages indicate that they “spend a total of about 2,400 million euros (about 2,800 million dollars) annually on cables and adapters to charge their mobile devices.”
Defeat for Apple
When the project was presented, the technological giant Apple presented its disagreement, saying that it was “hugely disproportionate to any problem that could be perceived”, in addition to limiting the “options of European consumers by removing older and cheaper models from the market”. The company defends its lightning connection and charging technology.
For 2009, the European Commission promoted agreements with technology companies to voluntarily adopt the reduction of cables. however, it failed to convince Apple. The company considers that the “adoption of a single charger is a brake on innovation.”
With the approval of the norm, MEP Alex Agius Saliba assured that the law must be applied equally to all, therefore “If Apple (…) or any other wants to market its products, abd sell them in our internal market, it will have to follow the rules and their device must have a USB-C port,” he said.
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