Yesterday, the European Parliament’s Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee voted to approve the Commission’s proposals, 43 to 2, moving the legislation another step towards becoming reality. For anyone making Android smartphones in 2022, this news is pretty, well, non-news: almost all major Androids have a USB-C connection now. But for Apple, which uses its own (ubiquitous) Lightning standard, this was a pretty interesting – and potentially huge – development.
By mandating USB-C, the European Parliament decides to accept measures to limit electronic waste. Smartphone owners in Europe are one step closer to only having to buy one charger for all of their devices. Earlier in 2022, the EU unveiled a novel idea to cut electronic waste by requiring all smartphones to utilise USB-C, the near-universal communication standard.
“With half a billion chargers for portable devices shipped in Europe each year, generating 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of e-waste, a single charger for mobile phones and other small and medium electronic devices would benefit everyone,” says MEP Alex Agius Saliba. “It will help the environment, further help the re-use of old electronics, save money, and reduce unnecessary costs and inconvenience for both businesses and consumers,” he continued.
The EU’s rules, set to take effect in 2026 once all the details are fully worked out, apply to pretty much all electronics: smartphones, tablets, laptops, headphones, you name it. The idea is that consumers would only need one single cable to charge and port data between devices. Reducing electronic waste is a very noble goal – and an important one as the climate crisis intensifies.
Apple itself has actually begun shipping new iPhones without a wall plug or headphones, citing environmental reasons. The EU’s rules go further and would require a complete rethink of how the iPhone handles its ports. Given iPads and MacBooks come with USB-C, though, it seems possible iPhones from 2026 onwards could also.
“We are proposing a truly comprehensive policy intervention, building on the Commission’s proposal by calling for the interoperability of wireless charging technologies by 2026 and improving information given to consumers with dedicated labels. We are also expanding the proposal’s scope by adding more products, such as laptops, that will need to comply with the new rules.”
Charge your iPhone with ease with the best iPhone chargers. Max Slater-Robins. Max Slater-Robins has been writing about technology for nearly a decade at various outlets, covering the rise of the technology giants, trends in enterprise and SaaS companies, and much more besides. Originally from Suffolk, he currently lives in London and likes a good night out and walks in the countryside.