European Commission pulls the plug on e-waste with common charger for electronic devices

The European Commission takes an important step against e-waste and consumer inconvenience, caused by incompatible chargers for electronic devices by putting forward legislation to establish a common charging solution for all relevant devices: USB-C will become the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld videogame consoles.

In addition, the Commission proposes to separate the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices. This will improve consumers’ convenience and reduce the environmental footprint associated with the production and disposal of chargers, thereby supporting the green and digital transitions.

Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe fit for the Digital Age, said:

“European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers. We gave the industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger. This is an important win for our consumers and environment and in line with our green and digital ambitions.”

 

Thierry Breton

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.”

The Commission is proposing:

  • A harmonised charging port for electronic devices: USB-C will be the common port, regardless of the device brand.
  • Harmonised fast charging technology will ensure that the charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device.
  • Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: consumers will be able to purchase a new electronic device without a new charger, thereby reducing production and electronic waste.
  • Improved information for consumers: producers will need to provide relevant information about charging performance, including information on the power required by the device and if it supports fast charging.

A transition period of 24 months from the date of adoption will give the industry ample time to adapt before the entry into application.

 


More Information

Watch the press conference here.

Questions & Answers on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution for electronic devices

Factsheet on the Commission’s proposal on a common charging solution for electronic devices

Common Charger Factsheet EN

Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2014/53/EU on the harmonisation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment

Working documents here and here