A little over a week ago the European Union reached an agreement this will require hardware manufacturers to adopt a common charger – in particular the USB-C standard – by 2024. Yesterday, a trio of Democratic senators sent open letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, urging the United States to follow suit.
The letter, signed by Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markie of Massachusetts, notes consumer frustration, costs and the rise in e-waste due to the proliferation of different charging cables. The letter specifically cites an EU figure, noting that chargers alone account for around 11,000 tonnes of e-waste per year.
“This policy has the potential to significantly reduce e-waste and help consumers who are tired of rummaging through trash cans full of tangled chargers to find compatible or buy new ones,” lawmakers said. “The EU is acting wisely in the public interest by taking on powerful technology companies on this consumer and environmental issue. The United States must do the same. “
USB-C, of course, is widely accepted by a number of manufacturers throughout the industry. However, there are some caveats that either continue to use older standards such as micro-USB, or rely on their own ports. Apple’s iPhone is the most notable example of the latter. While the company has adopted USB-C for MacBooks and iPads, its phones still have a Lightning cable on the front.
Such legislation would require the company to switch to USB-C. It is rumored that the upcoming iPhone 14 will carry Lightning, while rumors point to the arrival of USB-C for Pro models next year.