Manufacturers are likely to have to offer European customers a standardised mobile phone charger from 2017, after MEPs approved a new EU directive designed to crackdown on eWaste last week.
There are at least half a billion mobile phones in the EU. Most use different chargers, even if they are the same brand but a slightly different model. Often the charger will then become redundant after the user changes phone.
Its estimated that there are some 30 different types of charger currently on the market.
Draft law specifies that the ability to work with common chargers will be an essential requirement for new radio equipment. The European Commission will decide the specific types of radio equipment will have to meet this requirement.
Rapporteur Barbara Weile, MEP: “This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment… It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually”
Yet to be formally approved by the Council of Europe, member states will have two years to put the rules into their national laws. Manufacturers will have an additional year to comply.
In 2009, phone makers such as Apple, Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and ALCATEL signed an agreement to make their phones compatible with a single, USB style charger.
Rapporteur Barbara Weile, the MEP guiding the legislation through Parliament, said: “This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment… It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually.”
According to the Daily Mail, Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s deputy leader, said of the news: “This is a backwards step because imposing a single charger stifles innovation, curbs research, and may impose extra costs on the consumer. The alternative and better action is to encourage diversity, competition and greater development.
“The EU is hamstrung by the ideology of one-size-fits-all, be it economic policy, currency, fisheries policy and now even phone chargers.”