Following European Union lawmakers reaching a deal to force all smartphones and tablets to have USB-C charging ports by 2024, a group of senate democrats is looking to implement a similar mandate in the U.S.
As reported by The Verge, these democrats have called on the U.S. Commerce Department to follow the EU’s lead and “develop a strategy to require a common charging port across all mobile devices.”
The letter, which was addressed to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, was penned by Ed Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
“The EU has wisely acted in the public interest by taking on powerful technology companies over this consumer and environmental issue,” the senators wrote. “The United States should do the same.”
This move would be a big step towards combating e-waste and would hit Apple the hardest as it has been using its proprietary Lightning Cable for many of its devices since it was introduced alongside the iPhone 5 in 2012.
“Year after year, Americans pile our outdated chargers onto landfills while we shell out more money to tech companies for new ones,” Markey said in a statement to The Verge on Thursday. “This waste is driving consumers up the wall, and it’s driving our planet deeper into a climate crisis. I’m asking the Department of Commerce to follow the lead of the European Union and look into solutions so that we can save our money, our sanity, and our planet.”
The U.S. senate democrats’ plan is slightly different from that of the EU, as they aren’t asking the Commerce Department to codify USB-C as the universal charging standard. Instead, it is asking them to create a “comprehensive strategy” moving forward.
Some are against this movement, as some critics of the EU mandate say this rule could “stifle innovation and inhibit smartphone manufacturers from advancing faster-charging standards in the future.”
“Big Tech is allergic to regulation, and we’re already seeing companies push back on the EU’s action. Senator Markey thinks that we have to continue to stand up to this industry to make sure their interests don’t come at the expense of environmental and consumer wellbeing,” a spokesperson told the Verge when asked about potential pushback from the tech industry.