MEPs want tech firms to adopt universal charger, Commission ‘ready’ to take matter in hand

MEPs defend a single charger "to avoid excessive costs, inconvenience for consumers and an unnecessary ecological footprint" [Alexandra E-Rust - Flickr] [Alexandra E-Rust]

In a resolution adopted on 30 January, MEPs called on the Commission to force tech companies to adopt a universal charger. EURACTIV’s partner Le Journal de l’Environnement reports.

Whether Apple likes it or not, MEPs want a universal charger for mobile phones, tablets and other small mobile devices. The idea, launched by Brussels in 2009, was met with resistance from the industry at the time.

Yet, compared to the 30 chargers that existed in Europe in 2009, there are now just three different chargers: the Micro USB connector, the more recent USB-C, and the Lightning produced by Apple.

Apple is strongly opposed to any European regulation which would “stifle innovation rather than encourage it and harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole”.

51,000 fewer tonnes of waste

However, MEPs defend a single charger “to avoid excessive costs, inconvenience for consumers and an unnecessary ecological footprint”. According to them, electronic waste accounts for 12.3 million tonnes per year in Europe, of which 51,000 tonnes comes from shippers alone.

The Parliament resolution was overwhelmingly adopted by 582 MEPs who voted in favour, while 40 were against and 37 abstained.

The European executive said it was “ready to take the matter in hand”.

Parliament backs universal mobile phone chargers

All mobile phones on the European market will soon have to use a standard charger after the European Parliament voted on a directive on Thursday (13 March).

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