Back in December, last year, we told you that a universal laptop charger standard was in the cards for this year and now we’re hearing reports that the European Union wants to cut down electronic clutter by obliging OEMs to adopt an universal charger for mobile phones and tablets, as well. This way, you won’t have to ditch your previous charger whenever you buy a new one. And, to be frank, not all of us are that conscious and decide to recycle, so it all turns out to be electronic waste which puts in big danger our environment.
The picture from above shows my personal “riches” that I’m about to recycle this weekend. For the last 5 years, it seems that I have managed to “collect” around 8 different chargers. And I’m sure that the average person has had at least 3 chargers since mobile phones have appeared. But this could change starting with 2017, as the European Union has voted in favor of a draft legislation which lists among the “essential requirements” of electrical devices approved by the EU a compatibility with “universal” chargers. According to a German MEP, this move will eliminate 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste:
The modernised Radio Equipment Directive is an efficient tool to prevent interference between different radio 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
The draft law was approved by an overwhelming majority of 550 votes to 12. It stipulates that the ability to work with common chargers will be an essential requirement for the making companies. Apparently, there’s already a proposed design for the upcoming universal charger and, as expected, it uses a Micro USB connector. The majority of mobile manufacturers, like Samsung and Nokia already use one, so the shift to an universal charger shouldn’t be that tedious.
Another obvious advantage of an universal mobile phone charger standard will be the fact that whenever your phone battery will go flat and you won’t be nowhere near home, you will just ask your friend or somebody else to help you out. And if we’ll see this turn into reality by 2017, then the move will extend to other parts of the world. However, there are voices which disagree with the move – Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s deputy leader, said the following:
This is a backwards step because imposing a single charger stifles innovation, curbs research, and may impose extra costs on the consumer. The alternative and better action is to encourage diversity, competition and greater development. The EU is hamstrung by the ideology of one-size-fits-all, be it economic policy, currency, fisheries policy and now even phone chargers. The UKIP alternative is to allow diversity to flourish and let the consumer, not the legislator or regulator decide.
I wonder if mister Nuttall currently owns an iPhone, because Apple’s charger and cables are known to be different than the rest. At the moment, according to estimates, there are around 30 different types of charger on the market, but manufacturers have two years at their disposal to get ready for the new restriction.