The EU Announced A Common Charger for Phones

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Photo: by The Cut; Roman Mykhalchuk/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Picture this: Your phone is at 10 percent battery, but you’re at a friend’s place and you’ve forgotten your charger at home. Your friend offers you their extra charger to use before you head out, but the plug doesn’t work on your phone (damn upgrades!), and so you must soldier on into the night, essentially phoneless. Now imagine this scenario again, but with one key difference: Even though you and your friend don’t have the same phone, the charger works because it has the law mandates that all cell phones comply with a universal charger. But where, you ask, would this even be possible? This heavenly scenario will soon become a reality in the European Union, where I will definitely be moving.

The E.U. announced Tuesday that it would be mandating a standard charger on all phones. Instead of having three different kinds of chargers — USB Type-C, the micro-USB used by many non-Apple products, and Apple’s “Lightning” charger — all digital phones sold in the E.U. will have to use USB-C chargers. Tablets, e-readers, and digital cameras will also need to use the “Common Charger,” as will headsets, video-game consoles, and other small electronic devices. The goal of the E.U.’s new policy, as reported by the AP, is to reduce waste and lower costs for consumers. According to an impact assessment by the European Commission, the policy will save 250 million euros a year and could keep Europeans from discarding 11,000 metric tons of electronic waste annually. Not to mention all that drawer space it would open up.

Apple is, apparently, not thrilled with this new agreement. When the E.U. first proposed introducing a common charger in 2021, the company released a statement saying it “stifles innovation” and would “harm consumers in Europe and around the world.” The company has yet to comment on the official mandate. But now that we know a world with one charger is within reach, they’ll have a hard time convincing consumers that it’s actually better to have five different chargers scattered throughout the house plus extras for the car and the office.

We have lived under the tyranny of Big Charger for far too long. It’s time to stand up and demand with one voice that we, too, get a universal phone charger. Who’s with me?

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