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Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment (R&TTE)

One charger for all - Be green

One charger for all logo © European Union 2008-2011

Incompatible mobile phone chargers: an unnecessary waste of resources

Each year over 185 million mobile phones are sold in the EU. of which more than 50 per cent are replacement phones. As a result of new phones coming with new chargers or being incompatible with old chargers, it is estimated that 50,000 tonnes of chargers are rendered redundant each year. Other estimates talk in terms of more than a billion unused chargers lying around in European cupboards and drawers.

The environmental benefits of harmonising chargers are expected to be considerable. The number of chargers sold unnecessarily will reduce the associated generated electronic waste. A common charger is also expected to improve energy-efficiency, complying with the newest European Harmonized standards, and thus reducing energy consumption.

What happens to all the old chargers?

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive promoting the collection and recycling of electronic equipment (Directive 2002/96/EC) has been in force since February 2003. It provides for the creation of collection schemes where consumers return their used e-waste free of charge. However, only one third of electrical and electronic waste in the European Union is appropriately treated.

Therefore, in December 2008 the European Commission proposed a revision of the directives on electrical and electronic equipment; the Commission proposes to reach 65% of the average weight of electrical and electronic equipment.

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