07 June 2022, by Abi Carter

The days of having multiple different charging cables for your mobile phone, tablet, camera, headphones and other electronic devices will soon be behind us, thanks to a new EU directive that calls for charging sockets to be standardised from mid-2024. 

USB-C to become standard charger in EU from 2024

Negotiators from EU member states and the EU parliament signed off a directive this week that calls for USB-C to be made the standard charging cable for numerous electronic devices. This was confirmed on Tuesday by Anna Cavazzini, who headed up negotiations. 

In future, the USB-C connector will be the standard for charging cables across the European Union, meaning manufacturers will in future be forced to phase out other types of connectors, including Apple’s Lightning Connector and micro-USBs. 

According to Cavazzini, the new regulation will apply to smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones and portable speakers. So long as the device is large enough to fit a USB-C connector, laptops, e-readers, keyboards and computer mice, navigation systems, smartwatches and electronic toys will also be included in the regulation. For laptops, there will be a longer transition period.

EU Commission says new law will prevent electronic waste

According to the EU Commission, the regulation could save almost 1.000 tons of electronic waste each year. Currently, an estimated 11.000 tons of waste is generated every year from discarded and unused chargers. 

The Association of Municipal Enterprises (VKU) welcomed the decision, with a spokesperson stating, “The best waste is still that which is not created in the first place.” The association said it believed the decision would be welcomed by consumers as well, who would appreciate the convenience of having a universal charger for all their devices. 

However, the law’s critics have argued that it changes little, since older types of chargers can no longer be used and USB-C chargers have pretty much become standard in recent years. 

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