Last week, the European Parliament made it mandatory for all small and medium-sized consumer electronics to be equipped with a USB-C charging port. Now, an open letter from two U.S. senators to the Secretary of Commerce is calling for a similar policy in the United States.
The letter, drafted by Senators Edward J. Markey and Elizabeth Warren, expresses the need to adopt the standardized charging port, citing environmental damage due to e-waste, economic nuisance to consumers and planned obsolescence of consumer electronics.
The European Union (EU) has just adopted important legislation obliging electronics manufacturers to introduce a common charger for mobile devices throughout the EU.1 We commend the Ministry of Commerce for the steps it has already taken to address these issues, 2 and we urge you to follow the EU’s lead by developing a comprehensive strategy to deal with unnecessary consumer costs, reduce e-waste and restore common sense and security in the process of purchasing new electronics.
The letter explains that paying for specialized charging can be a ‘financial burden’ and that innovation should benefit consumers, and “it should not be at their expense, swapping them for incompatible accessories and forcing them to buy differently. charging equipment for each device they own. “
EU law will enter into force in the autumn of 2024 and will require all small and medium-sized electronics to use the USB-C charging port. This includes all smartphones, tablets, portable speakers, e-readers, portable game consoles, cameras and headphones. Laptops will also fall under this new law, but will not enter into force until 40 months after the law enters into force for small electronics.
The letter concludes, “we urge you to coordinate with offices and agencies across the Department of Commerce to develop a comprehensive plan that will protect both consumers and the environment by addressing the lack of a common U.S. charging standard.”
Apple is clearly the company most affected by this policy change. The company has reportedly already tested a USB-C charging port for a future iPhone, though it is not clear if it would come with 2023 iPhones or 2024 iPhones.