As reported by Reuters , the EU is in favor of having a single charger for all popular gadgets in order to cut down on the environmental impact as well as make it easy for consumers to carry just a single charger for all their gadgets instead of using different proprietary connectors. While there’s no explicit mention of what the proposed common port is, it’s likely to be USB-C since it’s the most commonly used charging port across devices especially on the Android side of things. The proposal also suggests not shipping a charger in the box, a move that some brands have already implemented citing benefits to the environment (while also serving their own economic interests).
Given that lightning is Apple’s proprietary port, it generates a good amount of revenue for the company via its accessory certification program — Made for iPhone (MFI). Apple said that rules forcing connectors to conform to one type could deter innovation, create a mountain of electronic waste and irk consumers. It’s quite the irony though since a single charger would make things more convenient for users.
The European Commission has issued the press announcement , announcing that it will now put forward legislation to establish a common charging solution for all relevant devices. The proposal is for a revised Radio Equipment Directive, which will harmonize the charging port and fast charging technology, making USB-C the standard port for all smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, and handheld videogame consoles. This will improve consumers’ convenience and reduce the environmental footprint associated with the production and disposal of chargers.
The complete proposal is summarized as follows:
- A harmonised charging port for electronic devices: USB-C will be the common port. This will allow consumers to charge their devices with the same USB-C charger, regardless of the device brand.
- Harmonised fast charging technology will help prevent that different producers unjustifiably limit the charging speed and will help to ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device.
- Unbundling the sale of a charger from the sale of the electronic device: consumers will be able to purchase a new electronic device without a new charger. This will limit the number of unwanted chargers purchased or left unused. Reducing production and disposal of new chargers is estimated to reduce the amount of electronic waste by almost a thousand tonnes’ yearly.
- Improved information for consumers: producers will need to provide relevant information about charging performance, including information on the power required by the device and if it supports fast charging. This will make it easier for consumers to see if their existing chargers meet the requirements of their new device or help them to select a compatible charger. Combined with the other measures, this would help consumers limit the number of new chargers purchased and help them save €250 million a year on unnecessary charger purchases.