A common charger for mobile phones sold in the European Union should be developed in order to reduce waste and hassle for consumers, according to MEPs voting on an update to radio equipment laws this week.
The draft Radio Equipment Directive outlines a range of harmonized rules for bringing “radio equipment,” which includes mobile phones and modems, on the market. The rules aim to make sure that the increasing range of devices don’t interfere with each other and respect health and safety requirements. Part of the directive focused on reducing waste.
MEPs called for a renewed effort to develop a common charger for certain categories of radio equipment—particularly mobile phones. They amended the draft law to stipulate that the ability to work with common chargers will be an essential requirement for radio equipment. It will be up to the European Commission to decide which specific types of radio equipment will have to meet the requirement.
Rapporteur Barbara Weiler said that the directive is “an efficient tool to prevent interference between different ratio equipment devices.”
“I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger. 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,” she said.
The proposed design for a universal charger uses a Micro USB connector—already used by many mobile manufacturers, including Samsung and Nokia.
The draft law was approved by a landslide 550 votes to 12. Eight people abstained. It will need to be formally approved by the Council (although it has already done so informally) and member states will then be given two years to import the rules into national laws. Manufacturers would have another year to comply.
If all goes well, the universal charger will be stipulated by local law in 2016.
by Olivia Solon