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Universal laptop chargers may become a reality, greatly reduce e-waste

Unlike smartphones and tablets, virtually every laptop’s charger is different. This not only makes losing or damaging adapters a frustrating ordeal, but the reality of different chargers for different laptops contributes to the ever-growing problem of e-waste, tech trash that piles up whenever anyone tosses out a gadget. While some e-waste can be recycled, it’s not nearly as easy to reuse as paper or plastic. However, one entity has put forward a solution to the problem.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has proposed a universal charging adapter standard for laptops. In its proposal, the IEC notes that every year, more than a whopping half a million tons of charger-related e-waste piles up each year, and that the introduction of a universal laptop charger would “opens the way to a significant and very real reduction of e-waste related to power supplies and will allow consumers to use a single external charger with a wide range of notebook computers.”

Don’t jump for joy just yet though. While the IEC notes that the proposed charger would measure up to “the required level of performance,” considering the wide range of notebooks that run the gamut from budget machines to hardcore mobile gaming rigs, they also caution that, “due to the technical realities, this is likely still a long way from being achievable.”

We’d certainly like to see this happen, but the concept needs to hop over this significant hurdle if it hopes to gain any traction. The full spec for the universal laptop charger will be available sometime in early 2014.

Image credit: pstech2u

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