European Parliament votes for standard mobile charger

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European Parliament votes for standard mobile charger
Apple "wall wart" charger.

E-waste reduction targeted.

Standardised, common chargers for mobile phones could be the norm in the European Union after a draft directive calling for their use was approved over the weekend.

The European Parliament agreed on the draft directive by a large majority, with 550 votes for and only 12 against. 

If the draft law is formally approved by the European Council, member states will have two years to incorporate it into national legislation, and manufacturers another year to comply with it.

Using standardised chargers would not only cut down on clutter for consumers, but also reduce e-waste by an estimated 51,000 tonnes, according to rapporteur Barbara Weiler.

The proposed standard charger is based on the micro USB format and dates back to an industry agreement in 2009.

Apple was part of that agreement but has since moved away from the micro USB standard to using its own proprietary charger, such as the Lightning connector.

EU is also seeking to standardise laptop chargers so they can be reused between devices. Last year, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) issued a technical specification for chargers for portable computers.

By adopting a standard laptop charger, the EU hopes to reduce somewhere in the region of half a million tonnes worth of e-waste that results as consumers and organisations dump power supplies that cannot be reused.

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