By the end of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold in the EU will have to have a USB Type-C charging port. From 2026 the spring obligation will also apply to laptops. The new law, passed by a plenary session on Tuesday with 602 members voting in favour, 13 against and 8 abstentions, is part of a wider EU effort to reduce e-waste and empower consumers to make more sustainable choices.
Under the new rules, consumers will no longer need a different charger every time they buy a new device, as they will be able to use a single charger for many small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
Regardless of manufacturer, all new cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and earphones, handheld video game consoles and portable speakers, electronic scanners, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, headsets and laptops that charge with a wired cable and operate with power up to 100 watts will need to have a USB Type-C port.
All devices that support fast charging will now have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger.
Promotion of technological innovation
As wireless charging becomes more widespread, the European Commission by 2024 end will have to harmonize interoperability requirements to avoid negative impacts on consumers and the environment. This will get rid of the so-called technological “lock-in” effect, when the consumer becomes dependent on one manufacturer.
Better information and choice for consumers
Special labels will inform consumers about the charging characteristics of new devices, making it easier for them to understand whether existing chargers are compatible. Buyers will also be able to make an informed decision whether to buy a new charging device with a new product or not.
As a result of these new commitments, chargers will be used more often, and consumers will save up to €250 million a year on unnecessary chargers. Discarded and unused chargers account for around 11,000 tonnes of e-waste in the EU every year.
Parliamentary Speaker Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, MT) said: “A common charger will finally become a reality in Europe. We’ve been waiting more than ten years for these rules, but we can finally put the current glut of chargers behind us. This future-proof law enables innovative taxation solutions in the future and will benefit everyone from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment. These are difficult times for politics, but we have shown that the EU is not short of ideas or solutions to improve the lives of millions of people in Europe and inspire other parts of the world to follow suit.
Today, 4 October, from 14:30 CEST, the rapporteur will inform journalists about the results of the final plenary vote and the next steps. Click here for more information on how to follow.
The Council will have to formally approve the directive before it is published in the EU’s Official Journal. It will take effect 20 days after publication. Member States will then have 12 months to transpose the rules into national law and apply them 12 months after the end of the transposition period. The new rules would not apply to products placed on the market before the application date.
Parliament has repeatedly called for the introduction of a common charger over the past decade. Despite previous efforts to work with industry to reduce the number of mobile chargers, voluntary measures have not delivered concrete results for EU consumers. The Commission finally submitted a legislative proposal in 2021. September 23