EU Makes Proposal to Make USB-C Mandatory On All Electronics

A+junk+drawer+full+of+wires.

Christopher Elias

A junk drawer full of wires.

The Proposal

The European Commission has made a proposal in attempts to reduce electronic waste in Europe. The proposal being to eliminate all other cable types aside from USB-C to make a “universal” cable for all electronics. This not only includes phones but as well as: cameras, tablets, headphones, video game consoles, and portable speakers. The proposal would require companies to make their fast-charging interoperable and an explanation on how it works for all customers. If the proposal is to become law, companies will have two years to comply. This would allow customers to purchase phones without a charger if they already have an older USB-C charging cable. The only company that may have issue with the change if the proposal passes as law seems to be Apple.

The “Rebel” Company

Being the only company who still ships their phones without USB-C chargers but lightning cable chargers. Apple has already voiced their concerns about the possible law stating; “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.” With that being said they don’t seem to have an issue making their laptops and iPads USB-C compatible. Apple has made strides in its attempts to reduce their e-waste. Doing this by no longer shipping a charging block with their phones. Apple choosing to do this with the first phone to have a lightning to USB-C cable cause mixed emotions. Forcing customers to have to buy a new charging block regardless.

Why only Europe?

Now this may all seem quite useless and unnecessary to people outside of Europe however European Commission’s vice president Margrethe Vestager stated, “European consumers were frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers.” This has also been a huge contribution to the 12.3 million metric tons of electronic waste as of 2016 in Europe alone. The proposal only applies to phones that charge through a wire not those that charge only wirelessly. The support in early 2020 from parliament in a similar proposal shows that this will pass as law. It is just a matter of seeing how long it will take for companies to implement the change, how Apple will comply, and if this will change anything for the rest of the world.

 

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