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Despite the reluctance of the industry, the European Union on Tuesday validated a new regulation imposing on manufacturers a universal charger for smartphones, tablets, consoles and digital cameras from the fall of 2024. Laptops will be subject to the same requirement. two years later. The measure is intended to relieve the wallet of single market consumers, but also to reduce electronic waste by several hundred tonnes.
No more old chargers left abandoned in a drawer or directly thrown in the trash: the 27 EU countries and MEPs agreed on Tuesday, June 7, to impose a universal wired charger in the Union for smartphones, tablets, consoles and digital cameras within two and a half years, much to the chagrin of Apple who opposed it.
“Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different device and charging cable each time they purchase a device, and will be able to use one charger for all of their small and medium size”, explained the European Parliament in a press release.
By fall 2024, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earphones and headsets, digital cameras, portable video game consoles and portable speakers, if rechargeable via a wired cable, “must be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of their manufacturer,” he says.
Laptops will be subject to the same requirement of a single charger “within 40 months of the entry into force of the text”, i.e. by 2026 (the text to be published in the Official Journal of the EU after the summer, after formal approval by the Council and the European Parliament).
The regulations also provide for the charging speed to be harmonized for devices authorizing fast charging, to prevent it from being restricted when used with a device of a different brand.
A brake on “innovation”, according to Apple
By making it possible to decouple the sale of electronic devices and chargers, the text could allow European consumers – who spend around 2.4 billion euros a year on purchases of chargers alone – to save at least 250 million euros annually, according to the European Commission.
From the same source, waste from unused magazines, estimated at 11,000 tonnes per year, could be reduced by almost 1,000 tonnes.
>> To read: Cover this electronic waste that the world cannot see
This project had been launched as early as 2009 by the Commission, but had so far come up against strong reluctance from the industry, although the number of types of existing chargers had been greatly reduced over the years.
From fifty in 2009, they have gone to three: the Micro USB connector which has long been fitted to the majority of telephones, USB-C, a more recent connection, and the Lightning used by Apple.
The Californian group, which has promoted its Lightning charging technology in more than a billion devices worldwide, had expressed its fierce opposition to the European text, believing that it “would stifle innovation”.
Consumer associations, while welcoming the EU project, had for their part regretted that it does not concern wireless charging systems, which are in full swing.