A new mobile phone charger that will work with any handset has been approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Industry body the GSMA predicts that 51,000 tonnes of redundant chargers are generated each year. Currently most chargers are product or brand specific, so people tend to change them when they upgrade to a new phone.

However, the new energy-efficient chargers can be kept for much longer. The charger has a micro-USB port at the connecting end, using similar technology to digital cameras. It is not compulsory for manufacturers to adopt the new chargers but the ITU says that some have already signed up to it.