EU legislation passed that from 2024 smartphones must use USB-C charging interface

The European Parliament today overwhelmingly supported the mandatory use of USB-C as a universal charging port for various consumer electronic devices including iPhone and AirPods by the end of 2024. The new regulation states that from autumn 2024, USB type-C will become the standard for smartphones, tablets, e-readers, keyboards, computer mice, GPS devices, digital cameras, headsets, handheld video game consoles, and portable devices sold in the EU Standard charging port for speakers. Starting in 2026, USB-C will also become the standard interface for laptop chargers. This means that Apple's devices also need to use the USB-C charging interface.

The regulation was passed by an overwhelming majority: 602 in favor, 13 against, and 8 abstentions. The regulation's lead legislator, Maltese MP Alex Agis Saliba from the center-left Socialist and Democratic Party, said: "This simple solution will save thousands of tonnes of e-waste every year, boosting old electronics Reuse of products, [increasing] convenience for consumers, reducing unnecessary costs.” He hopes the EU move will set an example for the rest of the world.

Margrethe Vestager, the executive vice-chairman of the commission, said a single-port charger is not only good for the environment, but also for consumers, meaning savings of at least 250 million euros a year.

According to the European Commission, chargers generate 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of e-waste each year, and the new rules are expected to significantly reduce this amount. However, this is only a small part of the ocean of e-waste, that the EU collected in 2019 totaling 4.5 million tonnes.

Smartphone makers have resisted the European Union's push to standardize charging technology for years. A decade ago, the industry reached an agreement with the commission that promised to gradually reduce the number of different charging technologies. This has produced some progress, but Parliament still does not consider it enough, and in 2020 it has doubled down on its call on the committee to come up with legislative proposals to regulate the issue.

The committee will also regulate and standardize wireless charging technology within two years after the regulation takes effect.

The three EU agencies agreed on the details of a common charger directive in June. EU governments are expected to give final approval at an Environment Council meeting on October 24, according to a spokesman for the EU Council. After that, the legislation will take effect. EU countries will have six months to incorporate it into their national laws.

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