EU vote on phone charger e-waste
IEC welcomes MEPs’ support for universal mobile charger Standard
The IEC welcomes the recent near-unanimous vote by the European Parliament to embed the universal phone charger Standard for data-enabled mobile telephones into law in the EU by 2017.
Published in 2011, the globally relevant IEC International Standard IEC 62684, Interoperability specifications of common external power supply (EPS) for use with data-enabled mobile telephones is a good solution to a serious environmental and consumer issue. It was the product of a cooperative effort within a group led by the IEC, which included the USB-IF (Implementers Forum), CENELEC and ITU-T. It covers all aspects of the charger, connector and plug. It also sets the standards for safety, interoperability and environmental considerations.
Industry solution to help reduce e-waste
As part of the process, leading phone-makers participated in the development of the International Standard via the IEC National Committees participating in IEC TC (Technical Committee) 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment.
The companies that participated included Apple, Nokia, Research in Motion, Emblaze Mobile, Huawei Technologies, LGE, Motorola Mobility, NEC, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, TCT Mobile (ALCATEL), Texas Instruments and Atmel. These same companies also signed a MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the European Commission to underline their commitment to implementing it within the EU.
The size of the problem
The GSM Association estimates that mobile phone standardization will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 13.6 million tons  per year. Furthermore, the GSMA  claims there are around 51 000 tons of redundant chargers manufactured every year. Not least,it will reduce production, packaging and shipping costs.
Notebook chargers next?
In the hope that a universal charger for laptops will also soon become a reality and significantly reduce e-waste, in December 2013 the IEC announced the publication of IEC Technical Specification 62700: DC Power supply for notebook computers. This is the first globally relevant technical specification for a single external charger for a wide range of notebook computers and laptops and it comprises the input of industry experts from many countries around the world.
IEC TS 62700 has been accepted by the National Committees participating in IEC TC (Technical Committee) 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment.
About TC 100
IEC TC 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment prepares international publications in the field of audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment. These mainly include specification of the performance, methods of measurement for consumer and professional equipment and their application in systems, and interoperability with other systems or equipment.
The International Standards from TC 100 make all the multimedia pieces work together properly and ensure that quality is identical the world over, no matter where you live and where the equipment you’re using was made.
 GSM Association: The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. www.gsmworld.com/
 GSM Association
Reducing e-waste via standardization
IEC 62684 opens the way to a significant reduction of mobile phone-related e-waste and will allow consumers to use a single one-fits-all charger with all new smartphones.
The International Standards from TC 100: Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment enable all the multimedia pieces work together properly.
Find out more
- IEC TC 100Audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment
- IEC 62684Interoperability specifications of common external power supply (EPS) for use with data-enabled mobile telephones
- IEC Technical Specification 62700DC Power supply for notebook computers
- CENELECEuropean Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization
- ITU-TITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector
- GSM Association
- USB-IFUSB Implementers Forum