Starting from fall 2024, all new electronic devices on the European market will be required to come equipped with a USB-C charging port, according to new rules agreed upon by the European Council, Commission and Parliament. This landmark decision aims to reduce electronic waste and promote technological sustainability across the continent.
The move towards a common charging port will have significant implications for technological giants using their own proprietary connectors for their products. In addition to mobile phones, the rule will apply to earbuds, e-readers, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable rechargeable speakers via a wired cable. “Laptops will also have to be adapted to the requirements by 40 months after the entry into force,” a Parliament press release stated.
The European Commission estimates that a common EU charger could save consumers around €250 million (£219 million). Although other sticking points, such as whether vendors would be forbidden from bundling chargers with each device to save on waste and how wireless chargers should be standardised, still need to be addressed by the European Commission and standards authorities at a later date.
Interestingly, the UK government announced in June 2022 that it was not planning to follow the EU’s lead on adopting a common charging cable. However, due to the Brexit agreement reached with the EU, Northern Ireland will still be required to implement the new rule, as it will remain inside the single market for goods.
This decision marks a significant step forward in promoting technological sustainability and reducing electronic waste across Europe. It is likely to have far-reaching implications for both consumers and manufacturers alike.