Charger will have a positive environmental impact

30 June 2009

Major producers of mobile phones have agreed to harmonise chargers in the EU
Major producers of mobile phones have agreed to harmonise chargers in the EU

Incompatibility of chargers for mobile phones is an inconvenience for users and also leads to unnecessary waste. Therefore, the European Commission requested industry to come forward with a voluntary commitment to solve this problem in order to avoid legislation.

As a result, major producers of mobile phones have agreed to harmonise chargers in the EU. In a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was recently submitted to the Commission, the industry commits to provide chargers compatibility on the basis of the Micro-USB connector.

In addition, new EU standards to ensure continued safe charger use will be developed to facilitate the implementation of the MoU. The first generation of new inter-chargeable mobile phones should reach the EU market from 2010 onwards.

Vice-President Günter Verheugen, responsible for enterprise and industrial policy, said: "I am very pleased that industry has found an agreement, which will make life much simpler for consumers. They will be able to charge mobile phones anywhere from the new common charger. This also means considerably less electronic waste, because people will no longer have to throw away chargers when buying new phones. I am also very pleased that this solution was found on the basis of self-regulation. As a result, the Commission does not consider it necessary to introduce legislation.”

Today there is a plethora of chargers for mobile phones in the EU. It is claimed that almost every household has a collection of chargers that have become superfluous over time. As such, old chargers currently generate several thousands of tons of waste a year.

The Commission welcomes that the MoU will not preclude innovation in the fast moving mobile phone market by fixing a certain technology forever. Therefore, when the time has come, the MoU will adapt to future charging technologies.

Apple, LG, Motorola, NEC, Nokia, Qualcomm, Research in Motion (RIM), Samsung, Sony Ericsson, and Texas Instruments have signed the MoU.

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