Universal Phone Charger Arrives At Last In Europe

After years of efforts, the world’s largest phone makers have signed up to a European standard for a standard MicroUSB charger, that should cut e-waste

Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Apple and other phone makers, have agreed to a standard MicroUSB phone charger, and Apple has also joined up, in a bid to reduce the number of chargers shipped and binned every year.

Unwanted phone accessories produce thousands of tonnes of waste in Europe each year, according to industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen, and users are provided with a new charger every time the get a phone, even if the old one still works. A new EU norm (standard) will be creaed, and phones will start to meet it from next year.

The agreement has been hailed as a green breakthrough, although in fact, the amount of power used to charge a phone during its life is small compared to that used in its manufacture – and the biggest thing vendors can do to reduce their devices’ footprint is to reduce the packaging.

However, incompatible chargers are an obvious form of electronic waste and people calling for a universal charger have included Dr Hamadoun Touré, secretary general of the ITU.

After this success, the EU will press on with its bid to make all external power supplies more efficient.