Are you tired of having to use different charger for your different mobile devices? This might not be the case as early as 2017 in the European Union as the European Parliament has voted on a law to let mobile phone manufacturers to use a universal charger on their devices. The draft law was approved by a landslide 550 votes to 12, with 8 abstentions.
This move was pushed by the German members of the European Parliament as well as by socialist Barbara Weiler. Once implemented it is expected to reduce 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste. It also allows consumers to use a single charger to charge their iPhone, Nokia, BlackBerry, or Samsung device.
Barbara Weiler said that “The modernised Radio Equipment Directive is an efficient tool to prevent interference between different radio equipment devices. I am especially pleased that we agreed on the introduction of a common charger. This serves the interests both of consumers and the environment. It will put an end to charger clutter and 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste annually.”
Critics however say that this move could pose a problem since it could trigger red tape and poses higher charges to consumers. Paul Nuttall, Ukip’s deputy leader, said that “This is a backwards step because imposing a single charger stifles innovation, curbs research, and may impose extra costs on the consumer. The alternative and better action is to encourage diversity, competition and greater development.”
“The EU is hamstrung by the ideology of one-size-fits-all, be it economic policy, currency, fisheries policy and now even phone chargers.”
“The UKIP alternative is to allow diversity to flourish and let the consumer, not the legislator or regulator decide.”
The draft law will still have to be approved by the Council of Europe which is composed of the ministers from the EU member countries. If it does get approved then the member states of the EU will have up to two years to incorporate this into their national laws. Once it has been made into a national law manufacturers will have up to one year to comply with it.
Estimates place that there are at least 500 million mobile phones in the EU and most of them use different chargers even if they are of the same brand. There are 30 different chargers in the market today.