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Radio and telecommunications terminal equipment (R&TTE)

One charger for all - The story

One charger for all logo © European Union 2008-2011

An estimated 500 million mobile phones are in use in the 27 EU Member States - and that number is growing every day, with a staggering number of makes and models available to choose from when buying a new phone.

The chargers that we use with our phones very often differ according to the manufacturer and model, however, with 30 different types of charger currently on the market.

How many times have we forgotten our chargers, found that our phone battery was running low and had to ask to borrow a charger from a friend or colleague with the same phone? Aside from being very inconvenient, the problem of having so many different types of charger is also incredibly bad for the environment

The problem is that every time we change our phone we usually get a new charger, which leads to an enormous amount of unnecessary charger waste. Almost every household has a collection of old chargers - which currently generates more than 51 000 tonnes of electronic waste per year in the EU.

Seeing that this was a serious problem affecting both consumers and the environment, in March 2009 the EU Commission gave the mobile phone industry an ultimatum to voluntarily adopt common standards for chargers or be subject to mandatory EU legislation.

In June 2009, Europe's major mobile phone manufacturers agreed to adopt a universal charger for data-enabled mobile phones sold in the EU. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) - to date signed by 14 manufacturers pdf - 6 KB [6 KB] - commits the industry to provide charger compatibility on the basis of the micro-USB connector.

In the first months of 2011, European consumers will be able to purchase a standard mobile phone charger for all data-enabled phones - including smartphones - sold in all 27 EU Member States.

So when we forget our chargers, we’ll soon be able to charge our mobile phones using the new common charger. In addition, when chargers are sold separately, we won’t need to buy a new charger with every new mobile phone.

Moreover, since the number of chargers will be reduced, the environmental impact will be positive. Reducing the number of chargers sold unnecessarily will substantially reduce electronic waste in the years ahead.

Good news for consumers and for the environment.

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