EU enforces USB Type-C charging on most electronic devices

USB Type-C will become the common charging port for all cell phones, tablets and cameras in the EU by 2024. This single charging solution has been tentatively agreed under the Radio Equipment Directive amended (opens in new tab) today and is part of a wider effort to make products in the EU more sustainable, reduce the amount of e-waste and also make everyone’s life a little easier.

It’s fair to say the days of hunting a specific charger are behind us, but having that written into law covering one of the biggest markets in the world will ensure we don’t retread shabby old ground. It might finally mean I can throw away that huge box of cables that’s been in the attic for years. Well, at least spend some time going through it.

One of the biggest culprits for the introduction of a plethora of chargers over the years has been the not-so-humble cell phone. There has been a concerted effort to switch to USB Type-C ports for some time now, particularly for Android phones, although obviously Apple is going its own way. Under this new law, the fruit maker will have to move from its beloved Lighting port unless it wants to turn its back on Europe.

This new law targets all small and medium-sized portable electronic devices, with specific mention of portable video game consoles, keyboards, mice and headsets. Laptops will also be covered by this law, though not immediately. They will be adapted to the “40 months after entry into force” requirements.

It will be interesting to see if this applies to all laptops, particularly the ones we are interested in, namely gaming laptops. One updated specification for power supply (opens in new tab) on USB Type-C 2.1 dropped this time last year, which saw 240W chargers become a reality, so there’s still plenty of performance left on the cards.

Faster charging speeds will also be covered by this new law, with a harmonized approach meaning devices that can make use of faster charging will be able to do so with any compatible charger, not just the one your device comes with. .

There’s also a clause that buyers will have the option to buy new devices with or without a charging device, which makes sense if you already have a perfectly functioning charger. And with unused chargers reportedly representing 11,000 tons of e-waste on their own, this seems like a problem worth solving.

The new law will take effect in 2024, assuming it is formally passed, which should happen after the summer break.

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