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EU Proposal Would Require All Devices to Adopt USB-C Charging Port to Reduce Waste

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The European Union has released a proposal that would make USB-C the standard charging port for all smartphones and devices.

According to a new report from The Verge, the European Commission on Thursday revealed a proposal that would require phones and other electronic devices to include a common USB-C charging port, to reduce waste by letting people reuse their old chargers on new devices. This move would mainly impact Apple, which uses its own Lightning connector on its iPhones instead of USB-C.

In addition to phones, the rules would apply to tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers and handheld video game consoles.

“Today, the Commission takes an important step against e-waste and consumer inconvenience, caused by the prevalence of different, incompatible chargers for electronic devices,” an EU press release explains. “Years of working with industry on a voluntary approach already brought down the number of mobile phone chargers from 30 to 3 within the last decade, but could not deliver a complete solution. The Commission is now putting forward legislation to establish a common charging solution for all relevant devices.”

The European Union has been threatening to make this change, which Apple has strongly fought against, for years. The move is designed to make things easier for consumers and to prevent people from owning all sorts of different chargers, which creates more trash.

“In the past, mobile telephones were only compatible with specific mobile telephone chargers. An estimated 500 million mobile phones were in use in 2009 in all EU countries,” EC research about the directive says. “The chargers used often varied according to the manufacturer and model, and more than 30 different types of chargers were on the market. Apart from causing inconvenience to the consumer, this created unnecessary electronic waste.”

Apple said in a statement: “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.”

Apple famously uses Lightning Chargers on iPhones, but recently switched to USB-C chargers for iPads. Presumably, Apple will simply switch to USB-C chargers on the iPhone, which has been a move long rumored by Apple watchers anyway, and is a charging standard that many people really like.

“European consumers have been frustrated long enough about incompatible chargers piling up in their drawers,” EU executive vice president Margrethe Vestager said in a statement. “We gave industry plenty of time to come up with their own solutions, now time is ripe for legislative action for a common charger.”

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