The European Union reached an agreement on Tuesday that would require all new smartphones, tablets and laptops to use a common charger by 2026.
This policy seeks to alleviate the frustration of a well-known consumer of drawers full of chargers – for some Apple devices, for other portable speakers or for hand-held gaming systems. It brings an unusual level of involvement by government regulators in product design decisions.
Policymakers said the move would reduce electronic waste. But the new law was opposed by companies, including Apple, which said it would stop developing new charging technology. Under the law, the European Standards Body will be responsible for considering the design of future chargers for all devices.
By 2024, all new mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, handheld video game devices, headphones, portable speakers, keyboards, mice, earbuds and other portable devices will need a USB-C charging port, the European Commission announced. By 2026, the law will apply to laptops.
Companies will also need to sell devices without chargers to reduce the number of chargers in the currency. The 27-nation executive body told the European Commission that discarded and unused chargers generate 11,000 tonnes of waste each year.
“The common charger is the common understanding for many electronic devices in our daily lives,” Thierry Breton, the European commissioner who helped negotiate the deal, said in a statement.