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Universal phone charger OK'd

A branch of the U.N. approves a standard for a one-size-fits-all phone charger that will work on any future handset, offering less hassle to consumers and a reduction in e-waste.

A standard for a universal phone charger was approved this week by the International Telecommunication Union, a branch of the United Nations.

Side by side view of a Micro-USB connector and a regular USB connector. Wikimedia Commons

The Universal Charging Solution will enable the creation of one-size-fits-all chargers that can be used on any future phone, according to the ITU.

The standard is based on input from the GSM Association, which expects the shift to eliminate 51,000 tons of redundant chargers, or 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Based on Micro-USB, the new chargers will also be energy efficient.

"Universal chargers are a common-sense solution that I look forward to seeing in other areas," Malcolm Johnson, director of ITU's telecommunication standardization bureau, said in a statement.

Manufacturers are not required to adopt the new chargers, but some have already signed up, such as Sony Ericsson, according to the BBC.