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The European Parliament has approved plans to force phone companies to come together and use one charger for their products.
I'm sure we've all felt the struggle: you're hunting for a spare charger in that inevitable drawer jam-packed with cables stretching decades of phones, cameras, personal DVD players and all sorts.
All you want is a crummy little Lightning cable, and instead you find Micro USBs, Mini USBs, aux cords and those weird two-pronged chargers you used to get with Sony Ericsson slider phones. Those woes could soon come to an end.
Under current European Union plans, companies will be required to adopt USB-C ports on all products, allowing for devices to be more interoperable and healthier competition between brands, as well as cutting waste.
Voting on the proposal, MEPs on the parliament’s influential Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection came in 43 votes in favour with just two against, The Independent reports.
As part of the vote, they also urged the European Commission to look towards a common interoperability standard on wireless charger, an advance that's becoming increasingly popular but is similarly divided across brands.
While a number of companies have already started using USB-Cs more extensively, including Sony with the PlayStation 5, the biggest impact will be seen with Apple, which has long-distributed its own charging technology, with the exception of new MacBooks.
If enforced, these rules would technically only apply to countries within the European Union. However, given the impact it'd have on production lines and the likes of Apple already vowing to reduce waste by removing chargers from phone boxes, it'd be unsurprising to see other countries conform.
The EU and European Parliament will now work together on nailing down the specifics of the regulations and an estimated date for them to be enforced.
Alex Agius Saliba, a socialist MEP from Malta with a firm hand in the proposals, said: "With half a billion chargers for portable devices shipped in Europe each year, generating 11,000 to 13,000 tonnes of e-waste, a single charger for mobile phones and other small and medium electronic devices would benefit everyone.
"It will help the environment, further help the reuse of old electronics, save money, and reduce unnecessary costs and inconvenience for both businesses and consumers.
“We are proposing a truly comprehensive policy intervention, building on the commission’s proposal by calling for the interoperability of wireless charging technologies by 2026 and improving information given to consumers with dedicated labels."