The advantages of a common charger for the EU market
Innovation and rapid development are certainly two of the objectives that the European Union is trying to promote, together with the proposition of sustainable solutions to safeguard the future of the environment.
For this reason, the European Commission is working on a proposal for amending the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU. With the core idea of reducing e-waste, the Commission is proposing a common charger for smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld videogame consoles). To clarify any doubts about it, the EC has also provided a Q&A document (European Commission, 2021b).
Having one common charger would not only limit the 11 tons of annual e-waste, but also have many advantages for consumers:
- By using solely the USB-C charger, everyone will be able to buy one single charger, regardless of the device’s brand;
- The harmonizedfast charging technology will allow equal charging speed without letting the producer limit it for profit;
- Having the option to buy only the device without a charger will allow the consumer to save money and the trouble several unused or unwanted chargers at home;
- Producers will need to provide better information to consumers regarding the performance and requirements of the charger that they want to sell. More precisely, on the maximum power that the device needs to optimally charge. Additionally, in cases of fast-charging capability, the applicable fast-charging protocols should be provided. This information should be displayed on the packaging (or the labels, in absence of packaging).
In the coming months, the proposed revision of the Radio Equipment Directive will have to be adopted jointly by the European Parliament and the Council under the ordinary legislative procedure. Thereafter, there will be a grace period of 2 years from the date of application to allow a smooth transition.
Please also note that not interoperable charges will need to be recycled when their respective devices are replaced, according to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive 2012/19/EU (EUR-Lex, 2012).
Regulatory Affairs Department
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European Commission (2021a). Commission proposes a common charger for electronic devices – factsheet. Retrieved on 22 October 2021 from:
European Commission. (2021b). Commission proposes a common charging solution for electronic devices – Questions and Answers. Retrieved on 22 October 2021 from: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_21_4614
EUR-Lex (4 July 2012). Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) 2012/19/EU. Retrieved on 22 October 2021 from: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A02012L0019-20180704
European Commission (2021c). Pulling the plug on consumer frustration and e-waste: Commission proposes a common charger for electronic devices. Retrieved on 22 October 2021 from:
European Commission (2021d). Impact Assessment Study to Assess Unbundling of Chargers. Retrieved on 22 October 2021 from: