EU pulls plug on e-waste with proposal for common electronic devices charger

USB-C would become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles

The Big Zero report

The European Commission is pulling the plug on e-waste and consumer inconvenience with a proposal for a universal charging solution for phones and small electronic devices.

With the proposal for a revised Radio Equipment Directive, the charging port and fast charging technology will be harmonised, USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles.

It aims to reduce waste by encouraging consumers to reuse existing chargers when buying new electronic devices.

The Commission is also proposing to unbundle the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices to improve consumers’ convenience and reduce the environmental footprint associated with the production and disposal of chargers, supporting the EU’s green and digital transitions.

In 2020, around 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices were sold in the EU and disposed of and unused chargers are estimated to pile up to 11,000 tonnes of e-waste every year.

Commissioner Thierry Breton, responsible for the Internal Market said: “Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that.

“With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.”

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast