The move is intended to cut down on electronic waste.
Most current-generation smartphones, along with other portable electronic devices like cameras, tablets, and headphones, currently use either USB-C or micro-USB connector cables in their chargers and ports. Speaking as someone who has more than once lost track of all of my cords in a big yarn ball, I acknowledge that having more than one kind of universal charging cable is a bit of a pain in the neck. Apparently, some higher-ups in the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, share the same opinion, which is why they’ve introduced a new proposal to unite chargers under the banner of USB-C.
The proposal would mandate that all electronics manufacturers, at least within the confines of the EU, would build their devices to charge with USB-C connections, and only USB-C connections. Besides the ease of locating charging cables this would bring about, this mandate would hopefully cut down on the amount of electronic waste the EU produces, as less cables will need to be produced and subsequently trashed.
“Chargers power all our most essential electronic devices. With more and more devices, more and more chargers are sold that are not interchangeable or not necessary. We are putting an end to that,” said commissioner Thierry Breton. “With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics – an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste.”
Are your chargers piling up in a drawer?
We propose a common charger for mobile phones and other similar electronic devices.
A single charger will be more convenient for people and will reduce electronic waste.
— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) September 23, 2021
There’s on major opponent to this proposal, however: Apple. All of Apple’s devices use their homemade Lightning charger framework, and a forced switch to USB-C would require a major overhaul of that framework. “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which in turn will harm consumers in Europe and around the world,” an Apple spokesperson told Reuters. This follows a previous statement Apple made expressing concerns that this mandate would generate even more e-waste as everyone throws away their Lightning connectors.