The mountains of e-waste produced across Europe could experience small but significant erosion from this year, after the EU finally agreed the harmonised standards required for the manufacture of universal phone chargers.
The move would allow manufacturers to distribute smartphones that do not require their own separate charger and are instead capable of using universal chargers that would employ a micro-USB connector to charge the phone.
The European standardisation bodies CEN-CENELEC and ETSI released the harmonised standard late last year and according to reports the first universal charger-compatible phone will be available within weeks.
The European Commission said the standards would allow for interoperability, ensuring the common charger is compatible with data-enabled mobile phones of different brands. It added that the standard would also take account of safety risks and ensure the common chargers have sufficient immunity to external interference.
Fourteen global manufacturers have already agreed to support the standards, including Apple, Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
European Commission vice-president Antonio Tajani, commissioner for industry and entrepreneurship, urged manufacturers to make good on their pledge to produce phones compliant with the new standard.
"I am very happy that the European standardisation bodies have met our request to develop within a short space of time the technical standards necessary for a common mobile phone charger based on the work done by industry," he said in a statement. "Now it is time for industry to show its commitment to sell mobile phones for the new charger. The common charger will make life easier for consumers, reduce waste and benefit businesses. It is a true win-win situation."
source: APEC-VC Korea