The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has published the first technical specification for a universal charger for notebook computers and laptops that the international standards organization says will “significantly reduce” e-waste.
IEC Technical Specification 62700: DC Power supply for notebook computer, will be available in early 2014.
Each year billions of external chargers are shipped globally. Power supplies for notebooks weigh typically around 300 but sometimes up to 600 grams. They are generally not usable from one computer to the next. Sometimes they get lost or break, leading to the discarding of computers that may still work perfectly well.
IEC estimates that the total e-waste related to all kinds of chargers of information and communication devices exceeds half a million tons each year.
This new IEC Technical Specification covers critical aspects of external chargers for notebook computers, their connector and plug, as well as safety, interoperability, performance and environmental considerations. It will reduce e-waste by allowing consumers to use a single external charger with a wide range of notebook computers.
The IEC says this will also make it easier for external chargers to be reused or replaced when needed.
End-of-life electronics worldwide are expected to increase 33 percent in just five years, reaching 65.5 million metric tons annually by 2017, according to data published earlier this week from Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative, a UN-backed alliance.