The EU’s common charger goal is one step closer after a provisional agreement was reached by European Parliament and Council negotiators. As of autumn 2024, all small and medium-sized portable electronic devices including mobile phones, tablets, and headphones sold in the EU will have to ship with a USB-C charging port.
An additional list of twelve electronic product groups including e-readers, portable gaming consoles, and cameras will also be obliged to share the universal charging standard across EU territories. Laptops will have to comply with the new ruling 40 months (3.3 years) after it becomes effective.
The new law is part of the EU’s goal to make electronic products sold within member states more sustainable and to reduce e-waste while helping consumers carry one single charger for all their devices. The legislation still needs to pass voting in the EU Parliament and Council which is scheduled for later this year and all signs lead to an overwhelming vote in favor of the common charging standard. The new law also seeks to harmonize fast-charging standards across devices and is looking at doing the same for wireless charging standards in the future.
Today we have made the common charger a reality in Europe! European consumers were frustrated long with multiple chargers piling up with every new device. Now they will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics. – Alex Agius Saliba (MEP)
According to the European Parliament’s press release, EU consumers spend a combined €250 million per year on charger purchases. At the same time, unused chargers that come bundled with devices contribute an estimated 11,000 tons of e-waste annually.
All major smartphone makers have already transitioned to USB-C by now leaving Apple’s iPhones and their infamous Lighting port on the wrong side of the tracks. Apple could avoid adding USB-C to its phones by going portless but based on recent rumors Cupertino is already testing USB-C on its next-generation iPhone.