Underneath a new regulation imposed by the European Commission, companies will be required to provide a ubiquitous recharging mechanism for smartphones and small electronic gadgets. The goal is to decrease waste by encouraging consumers to re-use old chargers when purchasing a new device. According to the plan, all cellphones sold in the EU must include USB-C chargers. Apple has cautioned that such a move would be detrimental to innovation. The tech behemoth is the primary maker of cellphones with unique charging ports since its iPhone series has an Apple-designed “Lightning” connection. “We continue to be worried that tight legislation mandating only one type of connector stymies rather than encourages innovation, which would hurt customers in Europe and throughout the world,” the company told the BBC.

It also stated that by 2030, it hopes to have made every Apple product carbon neutral. The majority of Android phones feature USB micro-B charging connectors or have already transitioned to the more contemporary USB-C standard types of connectors. New iPad and MacBook devices, as well as high-end smartphone models from prominent Android companies such as Samsung as well as Huawei, employ USB-C charging connectors. The modifications would pertain to the device’s charging port, while the end of the cable connecting to a socket may be USB-C or USB-A. In 2018, about half of the adapters sold with mobile phones in the European Union used to have a USB micro-B connection, 29 percent had a USB-C plug, and 21% had a “Lightning” port.

Smartphones, tablets, cameras, headphones, portable speakers, handheld video game consoles, and other devices will be subject to the proposed restrictions. Other devices, such as earphones, smartwatches, and fitness trackers, were not evaluated due to technological constraints related to size and usage circumstances. The plan also standardizes the charging of devices capable of fast charging at the same rates. For more than a decade, EU lawmakers have been fighting for a uniform standard, with the Commission’s study predicting that discarded and unused charging cords produce more than 11,000 tons of garbage each year. In recent years, over 420 million smartphones and portable devices were purchased in the European Union.

The typical individual has three cellphone chargers, two of which they use daily. There were more than 30 different types of chargers in 2009, but most models now adhere to three – USB-C, Lightning, and USB micro-B. “Having a single universal charging standard would be a triumph for rational thinking in the eyes of customers,” CCS Insight analyst Ben Wood said. “Despite Apple’s strong case for maintaining its Lightning connector, considering one billion active iPhone customers, several of its devices, including the Mac and iPad, now support USB-C.” If Apple continues to introduce USB-C for more of its products, it should ultimately become obsolete.” These suggestions may not be implemented for several years.

The European Parliament and national governments will discuss the proposed law, known as a Directive. Amendments to the plan may be proposed by Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and other member countries. The regulation will be adopted only once the EC has approved these revisions. The EC wants to achieve this by 2022, after which member states typically have 2 years to implement these guidelines into national legislation, and producers will have 24 months to alter their charging connectors. “We gave businesses enough time to develop answers; now the time has come for legislative action on a standard charger.” “This is a significant victory for our customers and the ecosystem, and it is consistent with our environmental and technological objectives,” stated Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestager.