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Europe standardizes chargers to reduce waste

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All mobile phones, tablets and digital cameras sold in the European Union must be equipped with a USB-C connector by the end of 2024. This was voted at the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Tuesday, October 4.

Passed by 602 votes, with 13 against and eight abstentions, the new legal obligation for disposable chargers will extend to laptops by fall 2026.

The purpose of the legislation is to reduce waste from electrical and electronic equipment and to enable consumers to choose from a range of products based on their environmental friendliness. The legislation provides that when replacing portable electronic devices, it is not necessary to use or purchase a different charger for each new device.

Regardless of manufacturer, the same USB-C port is being added to new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headsets and headphones, handheld game consoles, speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, and laptops up to 100 W.

All devices that support fast charging will have the same charging power, so users will be able to charge their devices equally quickly with any compatible charger. A separate product label should list charging specifications to make it easier to determine if your existing chargers are compatible with your new device. With the information provided, it will also be possible to decide whether to purchase a new charger for a particular product. Many of the existing chargers will continue to be used.

By avoiding unnecessary replacement of chargers, customers can save up to €250 million annually within the EU. Around 11,000 tons of waste from used or replaced chargers is generated annually in the European Union and will be reduced. The standardization of chargers is an important step towards a “green Europe”.

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