US Senators are looking to take a page from the EU, pushing for a plan that would force manufacturers to standardize on a common charger.
The EU made headlines when it adopted a new rule that requires manufacturers to use USB-C for small and medium-sized devices. The rule would cover laptops, tablets, handheld gaming consoles, cameras, smartphones, and more. Senators Ed Markey, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders have written a letter to Secretary Gina Raimondo urging the Department of Commerce to follow suit.
While much of the smartphone and tablet industry already uses USB-C, Apple is the notable exception. While some of its devices use the ubiquitous port, the company still uses its own Lightning port for some iPhones and iPads. The situation becomes even murkier in the realm of laptops, with some manufacturers using USB-C and others still relying on traditional barrel chargers. In addition to being a source of inconvenience, the splintered ecosystem leads to a significant amount of e-waste.
The three Senators want the Commerce Department to take action, using the EU’s decision as a template.
“We commend the Department of Commerce for the steps it has already taken to address these issues, and 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,” the lawmakers write in their letter to Commerce Secretary Raimondo.
“[The EU’s] 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 Senators continue. “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.”
A full copy of the letter can be read HERE.