USB-C gets an ‘A’ for sustainability, an ‘A+’ for breaking down the monopoly, and an ‘A++’ for utility, says Tsunami Costabir.
With every new device, we get a new charger. With every different brand, we get a different charger. Then there’s breakage and loss to frustrate us, while landfills receive more debris and e-waste.
The new age of smart technology focuses on reducing e-waste and improving sustainability. For decades, consumers have been at the disposal of their electronic companies’ airs regarding chargers. Chargers are also a source of income for these companies, making it more profitable to make them of sub-standard quality to sell more units.
USB-C gained prominence in the tech community owing to significant benefits – it’s smaller, slimmer and symmetrical, making it more convenient for the user and suitable for lighter, thinner devices. It can accommodate alternate modes with the help of adapters, as there are no compatibility issues. Power is also a benefit. A standard USB connection maxes out at about 2½ watts. A USB-C connection, by contrast, can handle 100 watts of power in either direction.
Backed by market-leading manufacturers such as Google, Apple and Microsoft, USB-C has quickly become the new norm. To create a more environmentally sustainable and tech-friendly future, tech companies worldwide accepted the new regulation that called for a standard connector. However, Apple continued to use lightning cables for phones and AirPods.
In September 2022, the EU passed a legislature for all electronic devices, regardless of their manufacturer: those that are rechargeable via a wired cable, operating with a power delivery of up to 100 Watts, will have to be equipped with a USB Type-C port. European Parliament’s rapporteur Alex Agius Saliba said, “The common charger will finally become a reality in Europe. We have waited more than 10 years for these rules, but we can finally leave the current plethora of chargers in the past. This future-proof law allows for the development of innovative charging solutions in the future, and it will benefit everyone – from frustrated consumers to our vulnerable environment. These are difficult times for politics, but we have shown that the EU has not run out of ideas or solutions to improve the lives of millions in Europe and inspire other parts of the world to follow suit.”
Apple responded, “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, which will harm consumers in Europe and around the world.” It added that it aims to make every Apple device and usage carbon neutral by 2030.
EU Commissioner Thierry Breton stated that the proposal doesn’t cover wireless chargers, as there is “plenty of room for innovation in wireless.” This decision also helps eliminate the technological “lock-in” effect, whereby a consumer becomes dependent on a single manufacturer. Buyers can make a much more informed choice about whether or not to purchase a new charging device with a new product. Already there are manufacturers in the market producing sturdier, more eco-friendly cables than other manufacturers.
Now, mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, headphones and headsets, handheld video game consoles and portable speakers, e-readers, keyboards, mice, portable navigation systems, earbuds and laptops – basically, all devices that support fast charging – will have the same charging speed, allowing users to charge their devices at the same speed with any compatible charger. Consumers will no longer need a different charger every time they purchase a new device, as they can use one single charger for a whole range of small and medium-sized portable electronic devices.
Bid adieu to your plethora of wired chargers… there’s just one that’s staying!
Image Credits: Google