After several years of intense debate between EU institutions, civil society and ICT industry, the introduction of a common charger for certain electronic devices will become a reality.
On 7 June, the European Council and the European Parliament have reached an agreement on a legislative proposal to amended Radio Equipment Directive, better known in the Brussels bubble as “Common Charger Directive”. In other words, soon new rules will be adopted in Europe, establishing a single charging solution for a broad range of electronic devices, which will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C connector. In a couple of years, it will be possible to use the same charger for different devices such as mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, earbuds, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles, portable navigation system, portable speakers, and laptops. The new standards will also prevent manufacturers from arbitrarily limiting charging speeds, ensuring that charging speeds are consistent when using any compatible charger.
Not only the environment will benefit from the new rules, but consumers will also play a key role when buying new electronic devices. How? Consumers will be able to choose whether to purchase a new electronic device without a new charger or a cable, and will have improved access to information about the product that they wish to buy. In practice, 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 pictogram will specify whether a new device comes with a charger, while a label will indicate the charging performance, thus helping consumers to make their choice.
The final step will be the approval of the legislative text by the Members States and the European Parliament, expected to cast their – positive – vote in the upcoming weeks. In practice, manufacturers will need to comply with the new rules by the next 2 years, with the exception of laptops, to which a longer transition period of 40 months has been granted.
The common charger initiative represents one more step in the direction of more circularity, preventing waste and empowering consumers toward the green transition. It is now up to companies and citizens to make it work!