The European Parliament has been a vocal supporter of universal chargers with USB Type-C connectors to reduce the amount of electronic waste produced by the bloc every year. This week the European Parliament formally ratified (opens in new tab) the new law under which virtually all mobile electronics sold in the EU in the coming years will have to support USB-C charging.
Starting from 2024, all smartphones, tablets, game consoles, headphones, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, e-book readers, portable speakers, and cameras sold in the EU will have to come with a USB Type-C port for charging. Starting from Spring 2026, the rule will extend to laptops.
The law will apply to all portable electronics that require power delivery of up to 100 Watts, which means that not all laptops will be required to feature a USB Type-C port for charging. So, for example, high-performance gaming notebooks will not need to use USB Type-C charging. Furthermore, it does not look like the EU will force companies like Apple to eliminate their proprietary charging connectors (such as those with MagSafe plug) but will only require all laptops to support USB-C.
The EU’s common charger initiative does not end with wired USB charging as the bloc wants to harmonize interoperability requirements for wireless chargers to ensure interoperability tween devices from other suppliers and avoid the technological ‘lock-in’ effect by the end of 2024.
To help the end user make more informed decisions about which power bricks to buy for their devices, the EU will also demand hardware companies equipped with chargers and electronics with appropriate labels that reflect the capabilities of new power bricks.
The EU believes that universal chargers will help EU citizens to save up to €250 million per year on unnecessary power brick purchases and eliminate about 11,000 tonnes of e-waste annually in the block.