The EU, closer to a single universal mobile phone charger

A year and a half ago, the European Commission proposed update of the European Radio Equipment Directive with a view to a single universal charger it applies to everyone portable electronic devices thus avoiding the annual waste that causes 11 000 million tons of waste of this type to end up in the garbage. This Wednesday, the ambassadors of the Twenty-seven managed to common position on a mandate which will allow the semi-annual presidency of the EU, held by France, to conclude the final interinstitutional negotiations with the European Parliament.

The bill aims to harmonize the port of entry so that the USB-C, used in all phones using the Android system, the default input for all devices, from smartphones to digital cameras, headphones, portable speakers or game consoles. This way, everyone will be able to recharge with the same charger and there will be no need to buy a new one when buying a new device, which will increase the convenience of consumers, according to the Council.

The new legislation will also allow the sale of chargers to be separated from the sale of electronic devices, which will mean that the purchase of a new device does not necessarily include that of a new charger. This, as explained by the EU, will allow reduce electronic waste linked to the manufacture, transport and disposal of chargers. To improve consumer information, the Council added an annex to the proposal which icon indicating whether a charger is offered with the device, as well as a label which specifies the cargo specifications.

long battle

The idea of ​​using a single charger for all devices is not new. It has been on the table for more than a decade until the European Commission decided last year to introduce legislation after verifying that, although the number of loaders was reduced from 30 to 3, the industry’s progress and commitments were insufficient. . “Voluntary agreements between role players in the industry were only successful up to a point. Although they made it possible to go from 30 different connections to 3, they did not provide a single charger solution & rdquor; and “there are currently no voluntary obligations or binding requirements on chargers or common charging interfaces for mobile phones or other similar portable devices & rdquor;” warns the rapporteur of the European Parliament’s report, the Maltese Socialist Alex Agius.

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Exactly, a study presented in June last year showed that 44% of mobile phones sold in the EU in 2019 had a USB-C connection compared to 38% with USB Micro-B and 18% of Apple. According to the same analysis, without any regulatory intervention, the USB-C connections will not replace the B until 2026, while the share of the entry of Apple, which believes the proposal will freeze innovation and force consumers to adapt to acquire, will be. keep the same.

With the approval of the negotiating mandate, it will be the presidency of the EU, held by France until the end of June, that will be responsible for negotiating a pact with the European Parliament that Brussels strives to be of application from 2024. The rapporteur of the European Parliament is of the opinion that the proposal should go beyond small devices and also cover other categories or classes of small and medium-sized portable radio equipment. In addition, it advocates the establishment of minimum requirements for wireless charging, ensuring the effective unbundling of charger sales, the improvement of consumer information, the improvement of the harmonization of fast charging technology, the strengthening of market surveillance provisions and the shortening of the pre-deployment period. of the requirements.

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