The Verge reports that a group of senators in the United States is taking a cue from a recent European Union agreement that makes the USB-C charging port the mandatory standard in 2024. The senators are calling on the US Commerce Department to adopt a similar policy to address the “lack of interoperability standards for charging and other device accessories.”
A letter sent to Gina Raimondo, the secretary of commerce for the United States (and signed by senators Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders) decries the lack of an interoperability standard in the United States that it says is a burden on customers and that results in too much e-waste.
“We urge you to follow the EU’s lead by developing a comprehensive strategy to address unnecessary consumer costs, mitigate e-waste, and restore sanity and certainty to the process of purchasing new electronics,” said the letter.
The senators say proprietary charging standards such as Apple’s Lightning port are an example of “planned obsolescence” that is “expensive and frustrating for consumers, and drives the proliferation of electronic waste.”
The senators point to the new common charger law in the EU as an example of “taking on powerful technology companies” to 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 letter concludes by urging the secretary of commerce to address the lack of a common US charging standard to solve these issues.
As you might expect, nothing will happen immediately when it comes to new regulations. (When the EU first began considering a common charging standard, the original plan was to use the microUSB standard as the common charging interface.)
Apple, facing pressure to change over its iPhone charging standard to USB-C, just like it already has with its iPad lineup, Apple is expected to move to USB-C charging on the iPhone in 2023.