Feb 21 2020

One Charger to Rule Them All

The E.U. may be responsible for simplifying electronic life.

Anyone who’s ever switched from one manufacturer’s cellphone to another has asked the question: Why can’t there just be a single standard for charging devices that works with every phone? Who doesn’t have a drawer full of obsolete chargers from last year’s phone? And is anything more frustrating than borrowing a friend’s charger only to find that they have a USB-C when what’s needed is a Micro USB? 

It’s maddening, wasteful and expensive. 

But thanks to the European Union, the pipe dream of charger standardization may soon become reality. The EU Parliament is considering a measure to “require smartphone makers to produce a common charger for all mobile and portable devices sold in the region, including tablets, e-readers and digital cameras,” reports The New York Times.

Although technically it would apply only in Europe, in practice, manufacturers would have to make the change everywhere, just as Europe’s General Data Privacy Regulation forced global changes. Opponents worry that forcing a standard would stifle innovation, but proponents point out that a single charger would be more convenient for consumers and less expensive. 

It’s also better for the environment, they say. In Europe, chargers produce more than 51,000 metric tons of waste annually.

“This would allow consumers to get a better deal and to cut waste at the same time,” said Dita Charanzova, an EU Parliament member from the Czech Republic.

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