TechEuropean tech revolution: USB-C to become universal charger by 2024, targeting electronic waste

European tech revolution: USB‑C to become universal charger by 2024, targeting electronic waste

The woman plugs the phone into the charger.
The woman plugs the phone into the charger.
Images source: © Getty Images | F.J. Jimenez

1:31 PM EST, January 8, 2024

The new regulations were authorized by the European Parliament back in October 2022. These state that all mobile phones, cameras, and tablets sold in the European Union must carry a USB-C port. Laptops are not exempt and will come under this directive in spring of 2026.

EC announces changes on Service X

Surprisingly, not just us - the everyday consumers - anxiously anticipated this charger breakthrough. The European Commission is genuinely enthusiastic and openly shared the delightful news of consolidated chargers via its official account on Service X (previously known as Twitter). Gone are the days of politely saying, "Sorry, I don't have the right plug".

A universal charger

Starting from 2024, the brand of phone, tablet, digital camera, headphones, portable game consoles, speakers, e-readers, keyboards, or portable navigation systems we buy becomes irrelevant as far as charging these devices goes. This rule extends to laptops operating on a power supply of up to 100 W, that are charged by wire. Thanks to the new rule, all these devices will need a USB-C port, the universal charger type. It is important to note that regulations will not apply to devices manufactured before the year 2024.

The rationale behind the charger revolution

The European Union has long pursued the concept of a universal charger for all electronic devices. The main reason underlying this change is to reduce electronic waste. The new rule aims to both protect the environment and simplify choice-making for consumers in reducing planetary harm. According to the European Parliament, this regulation will save up to 250 million euros per year. The EP data indicates that discarded and unused chargers in the European Union constitute a whopping 24,250 pounds of electronic waste annually.

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