One size fits all phone chargers on the way

FRANKFURT Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:15pm EDT

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Ever forget your phone charger and no one around has the same kind of handset?

Have a drawer full of useless old phone chargers at home?

Breathe a sigh of relief.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations' telecom arm, said on Thursday it had given its stamp of approval "to an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phone solution.

"Every mobile phone user will benefit from the new Universal Charging Solution (UCS), which enables the same charger to be used for all future handsets, regardless of make and model," the ITU said in a statement.

"Some manufacturers are already incorporating the UCS in their devices," an ITU spokesman said.

The association hopes a universal charger will help reduce waste by cutting down on the number of chargers produced and then thrown away with the purchase of a new handset.

There are already more than 4 billion mobile phone subscriptions around the world.

In June, top mobile phone suppliers such as Nokia, Sony Ericsson and other industry majors agreed to back an EU-wide harmonization of phone chargers, which means phones compatible with standard charging devices are available in Europe from next year.

The EU estimates unwanted phone accessories account for thousands of tons of waste in Europe each year.

Now, if only they could come up with a single plug.

(Reporting by Nicola Leske, Editing by Michael Shields and Dan Lalor)

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