EU Commission Wants to Make USB-C the Default

It hopes to cut down waste and redundant accessories

Citing e-waste and consumer inconvenience as driving factors, the European Commission is introducing legislation to make USB-C the new default.

The commission aims to make USB-C the sole type of connection used for the charging cables found with smartphones, video game consoles, etc. The explanation is that it will be more convenient for consumers and reduce the amount of e-waste created by redundant accessories. The move also aims to stop the practice of chargers being bundled with new devices, as this often results in drawers full of useless cables.

USB-C plugs on white background

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"With our proposal, European consumers will be able to use a single charger for all their portable electronics—an important step to increase convenience and reduce waste," said Thierry Breton, the EC's internal market commissioner, in the announcement. The proposition would make USB-C the only charging port used for electronic devices moving forward, no matter the brand.

According to the commission, this would "help prevent that different producers unjustifiably limit the charging speed. It would to ensure that charging speed is the same when using any compatible charger for a device."

Getting rid of charger pack-ins with electronics is also on the docket as a means of limiting the number of unused or discarded chargers.

The commission estimates that this alone could reduce the amount of yearly e-waste by roughly 1,000 tons. Though if you needed a charger when buying a new device, this would mean you'd have to purchase one separately.

Pile of used smartphone wired chargers

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As for when this will all start to change, we'll have to wait and see. Since it's just a proposal at the moment, there's no guarantee it'll come to pass.

If it does, then the industry will have 24 months from the date of adoption to complete the transition. So even if the proposal passed today, we'd still have until the latter half of 2023 before it would roll out completely.

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