EU forces manufacturers to develop universal mobile charger

MEPs will amend the European Parliament’s radio equipment directive forcing mobile manufacturers to make their handsets compatible with a standard power source

The European Parliament has announced plans that will force mobile manufactures to embrace a universal charger.   

The move towards a universal charging solution (UCS) began in 2009 when the European Commission signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with 14 companies, committing them to sign up for a standard.

However, today, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) decided to make an amendment to the radio equipment directive which will require all radio equipment to be compatible with a UCS.

The reason behind the move is to reduce the amount of chargers ending up in landfill sites. It could also lower manufacturing costs for mobile firms, which wouldn’t need to package one with every device.

The move has received praise from the International Telecoms Union (ITU) – the UN agency for information and communication technology – but it is calling for the amendment to back its proposed standard of a micro USB charger, which it first gave its support to in 2009.

Over 70% of mobiles already use this type of charger but some of the biggest players, such as Apple, still have bespoke power cables.

 “With ITU’s UCS we have a common-sense remedy to the very challenging problem of e-waste that can be applied to the widest possible range of mobile devices,” said Dr Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the ITU.

“I urge the European Parliament to include specific reference to ITU’s globally agreed standard in the future directive. This will allow manufacturers to profit from lowering unit costs of production through economies of scale while also limiting device duplication, reducing the strain on raw materials and enabling significant reductions in e-waste.”

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