Climate Actions

New Devices Charger Regulation: European Union (EU) to Banish e-Waste,  Help Consumers and Protect the Environment

Some people in Europe may be aware of the old EU (European Union) Radio  Equipment Directive, which many thought has been due for a revamp for a long time due to scientific, technological and  societal needs and progress.

By the way, EU Directives refer to the set of rules that govern how the now 27 (remember Brexit!) member countries of the EU and allied countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) conduct numerous affairs range from trade to daily family life.  Each country may reasonable tinker around a directive to suit or fit specific local needs particularly on the grounds of safety, health and environment.

EU Member States

That is, the directives may not be applied directly in a country against the country’s desire. They require another local or country specific legislation to be enforceable in that country. Unlike directives, regulations made in the EU will apply directly in all countries without the need for local adapting or implementing laws. However, this aspect is not the subject will be saved for another space.

So, discussions have been going on since over a decade among the member states, the EU Commission, the EU parliament and Technology industry players particularly mobile phone and accessory manufacturers . Suffice it to say that the big ones have keenly been involved both in trying to shape the outcome and to side-line it whenever possible through lobbying. Significant resources have been invested. One may ask, what is the issue?

Well, up to now and continuing into the near future, different mobile phones come with different charging cable and / or charging accessories. This practice is usually not unconnected to each company’s self-preservation, dominance and competition instincts.

Industry lobbing has made the coming change, despite the clear and known benefits, to take an unduly long time. As a result, obviously, there will be early winners and  losers. The early adopters and the resistant stakeholders.

Well, up to now and continuing into the near future, different mobile phones come with different charging cable and / or charging accessories. This practice is usually not unconnected to each company’s self-preservation, dominance and competition instincts.

Industry lobbing has made the coming change, despite the clear and known benefits, to take an unduly long time. As a result, there will be early winners and  losers. The early adopters and the resistant stakeholders.

e-Waste from different mobile device chargers.

In the long term, it seems clear that everyone in the supply chain, every stakeholder, every consumer is a winner. For one, when the sun sets on the implementation, what is there to lose with less e-Waste in our environment with the attendant costs for all?

The palpable problem for every user of these range of goods, iPhone, iPad, i-Watch, Smart speakers, etc. under the current arrangement,  is that by the time you are on your fourth device as a user due to technological advances, trends, wear and tear, losses, etc. one is stuffed with four different cables and chargers, which may not even fit the same manufacturer’s gadgets, assuming you are one of the loyal fans or customers of a specific type or brand.

Different iPhone and iPad charging cables.
Billed to be a thing of the past. Transitioning to USB Type-C port from autumn 2024 .

Consumers will 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. Irrespective of the make or source, whether made in Europe, China, America, Japan or South Korea, if sold in the EU and EEA countries, mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld videogame consoles and portable speakers that are rechargeable via a wired cable would have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port. Exemptions would apply only for devices that are too small to have a USB-C port, such as smart watches, health trackers, and some sports equipment.

     USB-C cables, By Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

This is a ground swell game changer for electronic entertainment,  communication and gaming devices,  gadget and equipment industry.

The advantages that the new rules bring are many and far reaching, including:

  • One single charger for frequently used small and medium-sized portable electronic devices
  • Less e-waste in the environment
  • Fewer redundant cables and chargers, which is good for the environment and consumers
  • Clearer labelling and instruction
  • Wider consumer choices and freedom to shop around without lock-in
  • Buyers can choose whether to purchase new device with or without charging device
  • No lock-in to one provider based on charging options
  • USB Type-C port as new standard for portable devices
  • Eliminate or reduce market fragmentation
  • Harmonisation for wireless charging and inter-operability of devices
  • Harmonisation of charging speed for devices that support fast charging
  • Not often mentioned or acknowledged, device manufacturer potentially can save significant cost that could be diverted to further product research and new job creation opportunities.
Buying Pre-owned Ear-Pods and other devices extend value and helps preserve the environment

Alex Agius SALIBA, EU MEP (Member of Parliament,), Vice Chair, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament commented,

Second-Hand i-Watch, Great value for Money

“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. This truly comprehensive policy change builds on the Commission’s proposal by calling for the interoperability of wireless charging technologies by 2026 and improving information given to consumers with clear labels. We are also expanding the proposal’s scope by adding more products, such as laptops, that will need to comply with the new rules”.

This is one regulation the UK will have to copy or adopt despite Brexit and any wish to be different. 

Zeepla® is an open community social technology platform provider. By promoting the re-sale, exchange or donation of pre-owned or so called second-hand or used  gadgets, Zeepla® is helping the global sustainable  environmental goals and contributing to making our world a better place.

Don’t let your redundant iPhone, iPad, i-watch, computer, gaming devices, etc. be idle,

Extend the values, Zeeepla it!

Dr Zeepla

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