A universal charger for all mobile devices will mean savings on consumers’ purses and less electronic waste.
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O Universal charger, recently approved by the European Union (EU), is the result of more than a decade of discussion around the European Parliament’s insistence on creating a common charger for portable devices, including mobile phones. A debate that faced great antagonism from the manufacturing industry, especially from the giant Appleknown for its fondness for creating proprietary equipment.
Over the last 10 years, this process has managed to obtain the voluntary adhesion of several other manufacturers in the electronics industry, which have even managed to reduce the charging models of mobile devices to just three (USC-C, Micro-USB and Lightning from Apple) .
But the EU wants to go further and the culmination of its effort in this matter has now arrived with the single charger directive that will be made official after the summer of 2022. After that date the manufacturers of any small and medium-sized portable electronic devices will have 24 months to ensure your products leave the factory with a common charging port.
This means that, as of autumn 2024, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, headphones, digital cameras, columns or portable game consoles, among others, must be compatible with the USB-C charging cable in order to be sold in the EU.
Laptop manufacturers will also be required to adapt their devices to the new requirement if they want to sell their products in Europe, but they will have a longer period to implement this change: 40 months after the new directive comes into force.
Universal charger saves euros and precious resources
The EU estimates that using a single charger for all small and medium-sized portable electronic devices will save European consumers €250 million a year.
The lives of multiplatform consumers will be made easier and the usability of their devices should remain efficient as the adaptations requested from manufacturers must guarantee charging speeds identical to those provided by compatible chargers.
Even more important is the fact that this universal charging policy contributes to the creation of an anti-consumption mentality that guarantees greater savings and profitability of the resources used in the production of electronic material.
The rare minerals needed for the production of new technologies, often coming from countries where their mining creates armed conflicts and human rights violations, are increasingly at the center of European concerns.
Even though rules have been created that oblige European importers to verify the framework of their suppliers, the best way is always to reduce production and reuse products that already exist.
Reduction of European e-waste
Official EU sources estimate that discarded chargers in Europe annually create around 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste. The so-called e-waste, created by electrical and electronic waste, is the one that has grown the most in Europe, which currently produces more than 4 million tons per year, with recycling fees far short of the targets outlined by the Commission.
As electronic waste is highly polluting, the situation is worsened because part of the European e-waste ends up in developing countries, much of it exported illegally, where there are no recycling structures capable of protecting the environment and the health of the inhabitants in the places. where it is deposited.
The universal charger is thus another measure that meets European policies that aim to create a circular economy within the European economic market by 2050. It joins other measures such as the Right to Reparation and the incentives that the Commission prepares to improve the reuse of electronic products.