The Council of the European Union (“EU”) recently approved the Commission Proposal on the harmonization of the laws of the Member States relating to the making available on the market of radio equipment as of June 30, 2022. The new rules aim to reduce the environmental impact of electronic waste and provide greater convenience for European consumers.
The new rules are likely to reduce the environmental footprint of the electronic devices sector. According to the data made available by the Council of the EU, there are an estimated 11,000 metric tonnes of electronic waste in the EU each year. In 2020, European consumers purchased 420 million electronic devices and owned approximately three chargers, but they only used two of these regularly.
Due to these environmental concerns, the following new rules will enter into force as of 2024:
> Electronic devices must have a USB-C charging port.
> When electronic devices are sold, they must contain a pictogram specifying whether the electronic device includes a charger and a label indicating their charging performance.
> Permission to sell unbundled electronic devices and associated chargers. The Commission will reassess the possibility of this becoming compulsory four years after the new rules enter into force.
These rules apply to the following portable devices: (i) cellphones; (ii) tablets and e-readers; (iii) digital cameras and video game consoles; (iv) headsets, earbuds and portable speakers; (v) wireless mice and keyboards; (vi) portable navigation systems; and (vii) laptops.
After receiving the approval of the Council of the EU, these amendments were adopted, and they are now awaiting the signature of the President of the European Parliament and the President of the Council before being published in the Official Journal of the EU.
The legislation will enter into force 20 days after publication, and the new rules will apply to all electronic devices 24 months after they enter into force, with the exception of laptops, which will be subject to the new rules 40 months after the legislation enters into force.