European Union Wants All Smartphones to Have the Same Charging Port

It would reduce electronic waste and improve the consumer experience, says the E.U.
Fabienne Lang

You're at a friend's house, and upon realizing your iPhone is about to die you ask if they have a charger lying around. They only have an Android charger. You're stuck. 

The E.U. would like to stop this type of situation from happening by having a standard and singular charging port for all types of smartphones. 

The hope is that this would curb electronic waste, as well as improve the consumer experience. 


Electronic waste

"More than 51,000 tonnes of electronic waste per year," happen because of old chargers being thrown out, stated the E.U.'s assessment. This may be reason enough to jump on the E.U.'s bandwagon for a standard charger. 

There is a clear and strong ecological argument being made here. 

On top of that, the E.U. believes this would also improve the lives of consumers who would no longer have to go out and buy a new charger every time they upgrade their phone. 

It's not the first time we hear of the E.U. asking for such a change. Back in 2009 the European Commission had asked for harmonized charging systems. And 2014 saw the European Parliament create a new directive for single charger use. 

So far, though, these desires have gone unmet. 

Not everyone is on board with this initiative

Apple answered the E.U.'s plea a year ago stating that if the regulation came into place huge amounts of electronic waste would still happen. Given everyone with a smartphone would have to buy the new universal charger they'd have to discard their old ones. 

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Nearly 1 billion consumers currently use the Apple lightning port. Bearing that in mind, replacing a billion chargers in a short space of time would overload the electronic waste sector, defeating the motive of the directive in the first place. 

Furthermore, Apple also mentioned that this move would freeze innovation instead of condoning it. 

It's an unresolved issue, and both sides of the argument appear to be sound.