Senators call for US to adopt common charger

A little over a week ago, the European Union reached an agreement that will require hardware manufactures to adopt a common charger — specifically the USB-C standard — by 2024. Yesterday, a trio of Democratic senators sent an open letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo urging that the United States follow suit.

The letter, signed by Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, notes consumer frustration, costs and an uptick in e-waste, owing to the proliferation of different charging cables. The letter specifically cites a figure from the EU, noting that chargers alone account for around 11,000 tons of e-waste a year.

“This policy has the potential to significantly reduce e-waste and help consumers who are tired of having to rummage through junk drawers full of tangled chargers to find a compatible one, or buy a new one,” the lawmakers note. “The EU has wisely acted in the public interest by taking on powerful technology companies over this consumer and environmental issue. The United States should do the same.”

USB-C has, of course, been widely adopted by a number of manufacturers across the industry. There are, however, some holdouts, which either continue to employ older standards like micro-USB or rely on their own proprietary 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 continue to sport the first-party Lightning cable.

Such legislation would require the company move to USB-C. The upcoming iPhone 14 is rumored to sport Lightning, while rumors point to the arrival of USB-C for next year’s Pro models.