The International Telecommunication Union hopes the universal laptop charger will reduce the amount of e-waste produced around the world

Universal laptop charger aims to reduce e-waste

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The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has approved an eco-friendly standard for universal laptop chargers, hoping to reduce the amount of electronic waste as well as help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The universal power adaptor for notebooks, as ITU calls it, is a continuation of the agency’s work on standards for smartphone chargers and adaptors for stationary devices such as xDSL modems, which were adopted in 2009 and 2012 respectively.

“E-waste has grown into a significant challenge to environmental sustainability,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “The L.1000 series of standards will contribute to the achievement of the targets set out by Goal 12 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to ensure sustainable production and consumption patterns.”

One million tons of external power supplies are manufactured each year around the world. The new standard, designed to work with multiple devices, is intended to reduce the demand for new adaptors. Moreover, the adaptor was designed to require less material and last longer.

“The ITU-T L.1000 series of standards will assist in meeting the e-waste target of the Connect 2020 Agenda, a shared vision for the sustainable development of the ICT sector adopted by ITU Member States in 2014,” said Ahmed Zeddam, chairman of ITU-T Study Group 5, which developed the standard. “This agenda includes the commitment of the ITU membership to reduce the volume of redundant e-waste by 50 per cent by 2020.”

ITU said the universal laptop adaptor reduces no-load power consumption five times compared with the current norm. When multiplied by the millions of such chargers in use this will greatly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions produced by these devices.

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