The European Parliament has announced that is ready to start negotiations on a common charger in a bid to reduce e-waste and make usage of different electronic devices more convenient.
MEPs who form part of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, including PL MEP Alex Agius Saliba who has been pushing for this initiative, adopted their position on the amended Radio Equipment Directive on 20th April and a plenary announcement confirmed Parliament’s negotiating position on Wednesday morning.
MEPs announced that the Parliament is now ready to start talks with Member State governments on the final shape of the legislation.
Under the new rules, consumers would no longer need a new charger and cable every time they purchase a new device and can use one charger for all of their small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
Devices such as mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones, headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable would also be required to have a USB Type-C port, regardless of the manufacturer.
Only devices which are deemed too small to have a USB Type-C port, such as smartwatches, health trackers and some sports equipment will be exempted from the rules.
The legislation is part of a broader EU effort to make products more sustainable, in particular electronics on the EU market, and to reduce electronic waste.
MEPs are also asking for clear information and labelling on new devices about charging options, as well as indications of whether or not the device comes with a charger when it is purchased.
They said this would make purchasing decisions easier for consumers and avoid confusion, noting that consumers often own several different devices and do not always need additional chargers.
As wireless charging becomes a more common practice, MEPs asked the European Commission to present a strategy by the end of 2026 that allows for any new charging solutions to work in conjunction with each other.
The goal of this is to avoid new fragmentation in the market, to continue to reduce environmental waste, ensure charging solutions are convenient for consumers and avoid so-called “lock-in” effects created by a consumer being dependent on a single manufacturer.
PL MEP Alex Agius Saliba, who is the lead rapporteur pushing for these new rules, said that “with half a billion chargers for portable devices shipped into Europe each year, generating 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of e-waste, a single charger for mobile phones and other small and medium electronic devices would benefit everyone”.
Agius Saliba also announced that larger devices such as laptops will also need to be manufactured in compliance with the new rules.
Later this month, Agius Saliba will also be the Socialists and Democrats’ representative in the European Parliament delegation for the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee during their visit to Silicon Valley to meet several companies, including Meta, Google and Apple.
This article is part of a content series called Ewropej. This is a multi-newsroom initiative part-funded by the European Parliament to bring the work of the EP closer to the citizens of Malta and keep them informed about matters that affect their daily lives. This article reflects only the author’s view. The European Parliament is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
What do you think of the proposed rules?