In an effort to decrease electronic waste, European lawmakers proposed a plan on Thursday that would require smartphone manufacturers to use a universal charger connection.
A USB-C cable is expected to become the global standard for all smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, according to the plans. While years of voluntary collaboration with the industry reduced the number of mobile charger types from 30 to three in the previous decade, the proposed regulation, according to the European Commission, would provide a single universal charging option.
Apple is one of the only companies that still use proprietary Lightning connections for its products, despite the fact that some of its more current gadgets do support USB-C charging. Previously, the firm claimed that the idea would stifle innovation.
In a statement, Thierry Breton, the EU’s internal market commissioner, stated, “Chargers power all our most critical electronic gadgets.” “As the number of gadgets on the market grows, so does the number of chargers available, many of which are either non-interchangeable or unnecessary. We’re going to put a stop to it.”
“With our plan, European customers will be able to charge all of their portable gadgets with a single charger, which is a significant step toward increasing convenience and reducing waste,” Breton added.
Consumers have been “frustrated long enough by unsuitable chargers building up in their drawers,” according to Margrethe Vestager, the European Commission’s executive vice president for the digital age.
“We gave industry enough of time to develop their own solutions, and now the time has come for legislative action on a standard charger,” Vestager said in a statement on Thursday. “This is a significant victory for our customers and the environment, and it is in keeping with our green and digital goals.”
In 2020, the European Union sold 420 million mobile phones and other portable electronic devices, according to legislators, and people own on average three mobile chargers but only use two on a daily basis. Each year, the organization estimates that discarded and unused chargers add up to 11,000 metric tonnes of trash.
The Commission also wants to separate the sale of chargers from the sale of electronic devices in order to decrease the environmental impact of charger manufacturing and disposal. It also wants manufacturers to disclose more information regarding charging performance, such as how much electricity a gadget needs to charge.
According to legislators, the new regulations would help European customers reduce the number of new chargers purchased, saving approximately $294 million (€250 million) each year on needless charger purchases.
Apple told ABC News that it is still working with the European Commission to fully grasp the proposal’s specifics, but that the legislation may disrupt a vibrant ecosystem, inconvenience consumers, and even result in electronic waste.
“Apple is known for its creativity and dedication to the consumer experience. Some of Apple’s most forward-thinking ideas are around creating items out of recycled and renewable materials “In a statement, an Apple spokeswoman stated. “We share the European Commission’s commitment to environmental protection and are already carbon neutral for all of our global corporate emissions, and every single Apple product and its use will be carbon neutral by 2030.”
“We continue to be concerned that rigid legislation mandating only one type of connection stifles rather than encourages innovation, harming consumers in Europe and throughout the world,” the statement continued. “We look forward to continuing to work with stakeholders to develop a solution that respects consumers’ interests while also allowing the industry to innovate and provide exciting new technologies to users,” said the company.
The business, which is based in the United States, also pointed out that the European Commission had earlier proposed requiring all smartphones to utilize USB Micro-B connections, which would have limited the growth of Lightning and USB Type-C chargers.
The European Parliament and the Council must then approve the plan, and legislators have proposed a two-year transition period from the date of adoption to allow the sector to adjust, which Apple has criticized as being too short.