Members of European Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favor of a common charger, the resolution passed with 582-40. It urges the European Commission to adopt new rules by July that would make it so buyers don’t necessarily get a new charger with each new device.
A decade ago, the EU got major phone makers (among which Apple) to voluntarily move towards a common standard. Now MEPs believe that the voluntary approach has not worked out and new legislation needs to be passed.
The resolution highlights wireless chargers as a way to reduce electronic waste, but notes that the rules written by the Commission should ensure that chargers can work with various phone brands.
Apple argued against a common charger saying that it will stifle innovation and inadvertently create e-waste as existing Lightning chargers and cables are swapped out for USB-C, the preferred common standard. Apple would be the most affected by a common standard as other makers have mostly moved to USB-C already (save for some entry-level models).
As research by sustainablySMART shows, most of the e-waste is generated by the charging brick, not the cable. Their suggestion is to ban or disincentivize the inclusion of a charger in the retail packaging for smartphones. You’d just use your old chargers instead.
Ideally, a common charging standard will be part of the legislation – Google already requires basic USB Power Delivery support from phones with a USB-C port, but all the phones with 40/60W charging use proprietary tech to reach those speeds (and charge slower when connected to a USB PD brick). Wireless chargers are in a similar situation.
The resolution notes that in 2016 the global average was 6kg of e-waste per person per year while the average for EU citizens was 16.6kg. It also calls for increased volumes of collection and recycling of old cables and chargers.
You can read feedback by Apple, NGOs and even EU citizens over here.