Tuesday , May 17 2022

Shared cargo: Better for consumers and the gift environment



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It can be frustrating to need different USB cables to charge mobile phones, tablets or cameras. The EU wants us to go beyond that, simplify our lives and reduce e-waste. To find out what the proposal for a shared charger includes, I spoke with Anna Kwazini, chair of the Consumer Protection Committee of Parliament. Read below a summary of the interview that was broadcast live on Facebook.

Proposal for a common charger

“The European Parliament has insisted for 10 years on one standard, so we will no longer need many cables, but only one,” Kwazini said. The European Commission tried to involve companies through voluntary agreements, which worked in part. However, not all companies agreed, so the committee finally proposed legislation to introduce a common standard for cargo.

What does this say about consumers?

The proposal consists of two parts: one for a common standard for cables and devices, which will make them interchangeable in the future. This is good for consumers, as they will be able to charge their devices with each cable.

The second part deals with giving up device packages plus charger. “When I buy a new phone, I often get a new cable automatically,” Kwazini said. “In the future, phones and other devices will no longer be sold automatically with cables, and that will reduce e-waste.” For consumers, this means purchasing the cable separately. But since most people already own cables, this does not involve additional costs.

When can we expect the common cargo in the EU?

The rules could take effect at the earliest in 2024. Kwazini hopes Parliament will finish working on the proposal and reach an agreement with the Council of Ministers, the legislature with parliament, by the end of 2022. After that, states will have two years to implement the laws.

Parliamentary ideas

Although work on the proposal has not officially begun in parliament, some MPs have already called for the inclusion of all instruments. “The committee’s proposal includes a lot of devices, but not electronic readers, for example,” Kwazini said. Other lawmakers say the new rules should also anticipate future developments, such as consideration of wireless charging.

Will these measures deter innovation?

According to a Member of Parliament, the industry in question often argues that new legislation could hinder innovation. “I do not see it that way,” she says. “The proposal says that if a new standard emerges, more powerful than USB-C, we can adapt the rules.”

How much will e-waste be reduced?

There are various estimates, but the number often mentioned is about 1000 tons per year. “E-waste is the fastest-growing waste category. If we really want to implement the green agreement and reduce resource consumption, we must act in every way,” Kwazini said.

historitic

After a decade of insistence on the part of Parliament, the Commission presented a proposal on the common charger in September 2021. It will make USB-C the standard port for all mobile phones, cameras, headphones, mobile speakers and portable video game consoles.

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