Mobile phones and numerous other electronic devices must have a standard charging socket in the EU from mid-2024. Negotiators from the EU states and the European Parliament agreed on USB-C as the standard charging socket, as the head of the negotiations, Anna Cavazzini (Greens), said in Strasbourg. According to you, the regulation applies to smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones and portable speakers.
The French Council Presidency also confirmed an agreement. In addition, Parliament was able to enforce in the negotiations that, for example, laptops, e-readers, keyboards and computer mice, navigation systems, smartwatches and electronic toys are also included, as long as the devices are large enough for a corresponding connection – although there is one for laptops longer transition period. It will also be possible in the future to buy the device and charger as well as the charging cable separately.
The EU states, on the other hand, have achieved in the negotiations that the new law will only apply from mid-2024. Parliament wanted the rules to come into force earlier. Both the EU countries and the European Parliament still have to officially approve the agreement. But that is considered a formality.
About 11,000 tons of electronic waste annually
The Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) welcomed the outcome of the negotiations: “The best waste is still that which is not created in the first place.” The project saves consumers’ resources and nerves, said a spokesman. The companies organized in the VKU are responsible for waste disposal, among other things.
According to the EU Commission, the regulation could save almost 1000 tons of electronic waste. Currently, an estimated 11,000 tons of electronic waste is generated annually from discarded and unused chargers. However, critics fear that the EU approach could come to nothing, since old chargers can no longer be used and USB-C has become the standard for electronic devices more and more in the past.
Legal requirements for charging cables – more precisely charging sockets – have been the subject of debate for a long time. More than ten years ago, the commission brought the charging cable issue up for the first time. 14 manufacturers – including Apple – agreed in a self-commitment to a uniform standard for mobile phone power supplies. When it comes to the sockets in smartphones and tablet computers, three of what used to be several dozen types remain: USB-C, Apple’s Lightning connector and micro-USB.