The European Union (EU) today passed a law requiring gadget makers to switch the charging ports of their devices to USB-C type by the end of 2024. A wide variety of electrical devices will be affected, including Apple’s iPhone and AirPods that use lightning connectors.

The aim of the directive is to provide all gadgets available on the European market with a standard charging point.

The adoption of the said law was the result of a total of 602 votes from the Members of the European Parliament (MEP), a victory of the 13 member states who disagreed and eight abstentions.

All devices are affected, regardless of manufacturer

More information about the rule was mentioned in the press release released earlier today.

It stated that by the last few months of 2024, all mobile phones, tablets and cameras sold within Europe must have a charging point compatible with USB Type-C.

More electronic accessories are included, such as headphones, keyboards, portable navigation devices and other rechargeable gadgets that use a wired cable at a power output of up to 100 watts.

Then the requirement will also apply to laptops in the spring of 2026.

Also read: EU forces Apple to sell only iPhone with USB-C charging port by 2024; Here’s what will happen if the tech company doesn’t follow the rules

An effort to reduce e-waste and promote product sustainability

MEPs argue that this law is a union effort to reduce e-waste and give consumers more options to make more environmentally friendly decisions.

The law will put an end to the common view, the so-called “lock-in” effect caused by technological progress. The lock-in effect is when a consumer relies on only one manufacturer.

Moreover, this is to make the use of different devices more accessible and convenient for most users.

“Under the new rules, consumers no longer need a different charger every time they buy a new device, as they can use a single charger for a whole range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices,” the press release stated.

Better information for customers

The newly passed law will benefit users by getting better information from the tech manufacturers.

Tech companies must disclose the charging characteristics of the new devices, making it easier for consumers to determine whether their existing cables are compatible.

In the long run, customers can save up to €250 million per year by not purchasing unnecessary chargers, which means that these chargers will be reused more often.

“Waste and unused chargers account for around 11,000 tons of e-waste per year in the EU,” the article revealed.

The long-awaited proposal

The discussion about standard chargers has been the subject of debate for the past decade. The union had expressed its support for enacting such a ruling, which unifies the charging standard for devices.

Unfortunately, previous initiatives and voluntary approaches have failed to deliver concrete results for EU consumers.

Finally, the Commission announced that it was working on the proposed legislative amendment in September 2021.

Related article: Apple forced to comply with EU’s new USB-C charging cable rule to continue selling wired smartphones in Europe

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Written by Trisha Kae Andrada

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