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Europe Makes an Agreement to Unify Cables for Electronic Devices

This Measure Seeks to Reduce Electronic Waste due to the Disposal of so Many Chargers that are no Longer Used, Through the Adoption of a Universal Charger..

Electronic device charger cables

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LatinAmerican Post | Moises Campos

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Leer en español: Europa hace un acuerdo para unificar los cables para los dispositivos electrónicos

Europe makes an agreement to unify cables for electronic devices and for this, the Council and the European Parliament approved a law that will require all technology companies to adopt USB-C in their devices. This legal norm is part of a broader effort by the European Union to make community products more sustainable, reduce the production of electronic waste and make life easier for consumers.

What devices are covered by the standard?

This new European regulation is intended to include mobile phones, tablets, headphones and helmets, portable video game consoles, digital cameras and portable speakers. In general, any device that can be charged with a cable will need to be equipped with a USB Type-C port, regardless of who its manufacturer is.

Laptops also have to meet this standard. However, manufacturers will have a period of 40 months after entry into force to carry out the modifications.

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The charging speed will also be unified for all devices that support fast charging. This will allow users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger. In addition, it is stated that consumers will receive accurate information about the charging characteristics of new devices, so they can easily see if their current chargers are compatible.

What objectives does this law pursue?

Under this law, consumers will not be required to purchase a different charging accessory and cable each time they purchase a new device. In fact, buying the new electronic equipment with or without the charger will be your own choice. They will also be able to use a single universal charger for all their small and medium portable electronic devices.

Due to the above, it is estimated that customers can obtain global savings of up to 250 million euros per year in purchases of chargers that are not needed.

In addition, due to the higher percentage of reuse of the chargers, it is expected to achieve a reduction in electronic waste of 11,000 tons per year, which represents all the chargers that are discarded.

When does this rule take effect?

After this Summer. The European authorities will have to formalize the approval of this agreement before its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. It will enter into force 20 days after its publication and the application of its provisions will begin after 24 months. The new regulations would not apply to products that were marketed before the date of application.

What about Apple devices?

In 2009 the European Commission and the industry promoted a voluntary adoption agreement that would reduce the enormous cost of cables, but at that time Apple was not convinced. The company stated that the adoption of a single type of charger is a limitation for innovation.

On that occasion, the US firm took advantage of a legal loophole that allowed it to continue using its own charger cable if it also offered the micro-USB adapter.

In 2014, European authorities called for a new effort to develop a common or universal charger. But, Apple insisted that the design of its devices did not allow them to adapt to the new USB-C technology. The company alleged that the cost of complying with the indicated pattern could reach 2,000 million dollars.

The use of wireless charging ports is seen as an alternative, since this technology has already been adopted by iPhones and other smartphones. Some analysts predict that Apple will eliminate charging ports and launch future iPhone and iPad models based on wireless charging.