Elizabeth Warren wants a universal charging standard for smartphones

Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey, along with Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, are pushing for a universal charging standard for smartphones, the senators said in a letter sent to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo on Thursday.

In the letter, lawmakers are asking the Commerce Department to develop a strategy to protect consumers and reduce e-waste, following the European Union’s lead on universal chargers.

“Consumers shouldn’t have to constantly buy new chargers for different devices. We can clean up with uniform standards – for less cost, less hassle and less waste,” Warren posted on Twitter.

Arguing that the lack of a universal charger places a financial drain on consumers and creates more e-waste, the senators write, “In addition to unnecessary costs to American consumers, the disposal and replacement of chargers creates e-waste that leads to environmental damage, including proliferation.” Toxins in the water, pollute the soil and degrade air quality. Discarded and unused chargers alone generate more than 11,000 tons of electronic waste every year.”

Although the senator’s letter did not specify what that standard charger should be, the European Union’s recent ruling made the USB Type-C cable the universal standard, and although this cable covers most smartphones, tablets, earphones, headphones and portable speakers , it doesn’t cover the iPhone, which uses Apple’s exclusive Lightning connector for charging.

However, as USA Today reports, the new EU ruling could force Apple to replace it.

“We cannot allow the consumer electronics industry to prioritize proprietary and inevitably outdated charging technology over consumer protection and environmental health,” reads an excerpt from the letter.

Time will tell if the Commerce Department will take action on behalf of the senators, and if Apple will go along with the EU’s decision to ditch their Lightning port.

“[The EU’s] The policy has the potential to significantly reduce e-waste and help consumers who are tired of rummaging through garbage drawers full of cluttered chargers to find a compatible one or buy a new one,” the senators wrote. “The EU has acted wisely in the public interest by taking on powerful tech companies on this consumer and environmental issue. The United States should do the same.”

Diego Ramos Bechara is a freelance writer for IGN and a fan of Star Wars, Rockstar, Naughty Dog and Batman.

You can follow him on Twitter @DRamosBechara.