The European Parliament gave the green light on Tuesday (October 4th) to require the same charger for all smartphones, tablets and other consoles. Which devices will this obligation apply to? What is the environmental impact of such a measure? La Dépêche explains to you.
End the mess of messy chargers overflowing from drawers: in two years, smartphones, tablets and other small electronics sold in the EU will all have to have the same charger. The European Parliament took action on the measure after a plebiscite vote by lawmakers in Strasbourg on Tuesday (October 4th). But what changes will this decision bring? Midi Dispatch takes stock in four questions.
Which charger model was chosen?
It is the USB-C type port that will be the only charger for portable electronic devices sold in the EU by autumn 2024. This world-leading legislation infuriates Apple when it criticized a text in June. It is accused of stifling innovation and cutting off the EU – subject to the choice of “old” standards – from the rest of the world. While there were still thirty different models about a decade ago, the number of chargers available for new electronics has dwindled drastically.
Now their number is three: The Micro USB connector that has long equipped most phones, USB-C, a newer connection and Apple’s Lightning charging technology.
Which devices are affected?
This obligation applies to mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, headsets, digital cameras, wireless headsets, portable video game consoles, GPS devices, computer keyboards and mice, and portable speakers. And this is regardless of their manufacturer. Laptops will also be affected in the first half of 2026.
What will be the environmental impact of this measure?
Margrethe Vestager emphasized that commissioning a single loader will “save at least €200 million per year for European consumers and make it possible to reduce more than one million tonnes of waste every year”. According to European institutions, discarded or unused chargers currently generate around 11,000 tons of electronic waste per year.
“A great day for consumers, a great day for our environment,” rejoiced, in the European Parliament half-cycle, Malta Labor Party MP Alex Agius Saliba voted 602 for text (13 votes against, 8 abstentions).
But French environmentalist MEP David Cormand said “the tip of the iceberg in the environmental impact of digital technology”, referring to “planned obsolescence” or low “durability” and “repairability” electronic devices. “The charger cable shouldn’t be there to hide the forest of ecological disaster that digital represents,” he critiqued.
How long do EU countries have to implement the measure?
After the final fully procedural approval of the European Council (Member States) and the publication of the law in the Official Journal, European countries will have two years to implement it. That is, until the fall of 2024.
“This transitional period should allow manufacturers to adapt their production chains,” said Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the European Commission. In addition, consumers will now have the option to purchase a new electronic device with or without a charger. Metin also harmonizes fast charging technology to avoid throttling charging speed when using a charger of a different brand than the device.
As it becomes more and more common, wireless charging will also need to meet interoperability requirements by the end of 2024, which the European Commission must harmonize.