The European Union reached an agreement on Tuesday requiring all new smartphones, tablets and laptops to use a common charger by 2026.
The policy is an attempt to address the well-known consumer frustration with having a: drawer full of chargers — some for Apple devices, others for portable speakers or portable game systems. It represented an unusual degree of government regulator involvement in product design decisions.
Policymakers said the move would cut down on electronic waste. But the new law was opposed by companies, including Apple, who said it would prevent new charging technologies from developing. Under the law, a European standards body would be responsible for considering future charger designs for all devices.
By 2024, all new cell phones, tablets, digital cameras, portable video games, headphones, portable speakers, keyboards, mice, earbuds, and other portable devices will require USB-C charging ports, announced the European Commission† In 2026, the law will apply to laptops.
Companies will also have to sell devices without chargers to reduce the number of chargers in circulation. The European Commission, the executive body of the 27-nation bloc, said discarded and unused chargers produced 11,000 tons of waste every year.
“A regular charger is common sense for the many electronic devices in our daily lives,” Thierry Breton, the European commissioner who helped negotiate the deal, said in a statement.