EU could force Apple to ditch its proprietary Lightning connector cable
TORONTO -- The European Union is determined to simplify cellphone charging, no matter what device you own.
Earlier this week, members of the European Parliament held a hearing about efforts to “harmonize” charging systems across the electronics industry.
While untangling consumer frustration around the ever-changing iPhone was certainly among the group’s objectives, waste reduction was also a stated goal. Old chargers for devices including smartphones, tablets, cameras and e-readers generate more than 51,000 tonnes (51 million kilograms) of electronic waste every year, according to the parliament’s executive arm.
“Demand grows and with it waste and exploitation of natural resources. We are drowning in an ocean of electronic waste,” said Polish member Roza Thun on Monday. “[The] Commission has to show leadership and stop letting tech giants dictate standards.”
The new measures mark the third time the EU commission has made efforts to reduce e-waste and encourage a common charger in the industry. The campaign initially began in 2009, when a “voluntary approach” was adopted, encouraging coordination among tech companies to produce a common smartphone charger. That agreement ended in 2014. Since then, vice president of the commission Maros Sefcovicto said, other efforts “fell short” of objectives. New charging solutions, including wireless charging, continue to be developed as tech giants including Apple argued that the EU was blocking innovation.
“[The] industry proposed to continue allowing for proprietary solution instead of implementing one common charger possibility,” said Sefcovicto. “Therefore, consumer convenience and the reduction of e-waste was not enhanced.”