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Universal Charging Cable in Europe Comes into Force

Universal Charging Cable in Europe Comes into Force

The average UK home has more than 10 internet-enabled devices, all of which tend to require different charging cables. In a bid to stop the hassle of searching for the right cable when devices are perilously close to running out of battery, the EU Parliament and Council have agreed that by autumn 2024, the USB Type-C will become the universal charging port for all devices including mobile phones, tablets, and cameras.

This new charging standard would require all charging ports to be USB-C to create one standard. Phones and other portable tech devices will be the first to introduce this change. New models from companies require this new cable by 2024, whilst laptop manufacturers have until 2027 to make the necessary changes.

Why one cable is beneficial

As we face a global climate crisis Governments and Parliaments around the world are looking for ways to help combat the impending catastrophe. Given our heavy and increasing reliance on electronic devices, shockingly only 12.5% is recycled, meaning 85% of E-waste is sent to landfills and incinerators, releasing harmful toxins into the atmosphere.

A major advantage of the universal charging cable will see a dramatic reduction in the production of additional (and unnecessary chargers). A move that Apple made in 2020 when they stopped including chargers in their iPhone boxes. This reduction will have a huge impact on the number of chargers that end up as E-waste.

It’s not just the green benefit, consumers will see a reduction in the amount they have to spend on different cables, which couldn’t come at a better time given the ever-increasing cost of living. The EU estimates that this new universal charging cable could save consumers “up to €250m (£213m) a year on unnecessary charger purchases.”

However, it’s not plain sailing.

Pushback on the universal cable

The main pushback for the universal charging cable is from industry giant Apple. They believe that a universal cable would stifle innovation. However, despite their reticence, they are testing new iPhones with the USB-C charger.

Apple is the largest manufacturer of electronic devices that would see an impact from this change. The new rule will cover a multitude of ‘small and medium portable electronics’ including:

  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • Headphones and headsets
  • Handheld videogame consoles
  • Portable speakers

How will this affect Brits?

Following the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union, the UK government doesn’t have to follow suit. Although it’s worth noting, that under the current post-Brexit arrangements, the new regulation would apply to Northern Ireland.

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