Universal mobile phone charger? MEP urges manufacturers to meet 2017 deadline

The European Commission urged leading manufacturers to develop a common charger for mobile phones: Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi reminds Brussels that the deadline will expire in a year

Labour MEP Marlene Mizzi has called on the European Commission to meet the deadline of presenting a single common charger for all mobile phones by 2017.

During an Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee, Mizzi asked the European Commission to state whether the manufacturers would be meeting the 2017 objective of placing on the market universally compatible mobile chargers. 

Back in 2014, the European Parliament approved a Directive laying down harmonised rules for placing radio equipment, including cellular telephones and modems, on the market. The Directive also called on the manufacturers to make mobile phones compatible with one single mobile phone charger by no later than 2017.

 “We accumulate so many different mobile devices in our lives, such as mobile phones, smart phones, tablets, digital cameras and music players, that are only compatible with specific mobile telephone chargers. This creates real inconvenience and costs for consumers, as well as an unnecessary electronic waste,” Mizzi said.

“Mobile phone chargers accounted for more than 50,000 tons of electronic waste per year in the EU. Often, when consumers change phones they are left with perfectly well-functioning charger, incompatible with the new model and therefore absolutely useless. This is contributing to tons of electronic waste.”

In reply, the European Commission said it was positive that, in the coming months, they will be able together with the manufactures to come to an agreement on a common and satisfactory solution.

By 2009, an estimated 500 million mobile phones were in use in all EU countries. The chargers used often varied according to the manufacturer and model; and more than 30 different types of charger were on the market. Apart from causing inconvenience to the consumer, this created unnecessary electronic waste. At the time, the European Commission said that almost every household was believed to have gathered a number of old chargers – estimated to generate more than 51,000 tons of electronic waste per year in the EU.

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