California Follows Europe’s Lead on USB-C Mandate for Devices
Bloomberg Law cites Research Fellow Alex Reinauer on the USB-C mandate.
The environmental arguments for the bill are mostly symbolic because chargers constitute a very small percentage of all e-waste, said Alex Reinauer, a tech policy research fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. In fact, such mandates could backfire and create more waste instead, he added.
“There are genuine concerns that the USB-C mandate will create more e-waste in the long run by forcing existing charging cables into obsolescence,” he said. “And if lawmakers and regulators later decide that a new charging port has come about that’s better, and they mandate that, all existing USB-C technology will be rendered obsolete.”
The bill’s requirement to give consumers the option to buy a device without a charger could contribute to more customer confusion, Reinauer added, despite power specifications being listed.
“It’s going to be difficult for consumers to distinguish one USB-C cable with another when it comes down to actually plugging in their device,” he said. “We shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a concern that if you pair kind of an overpowered USB-C charging cable with a lower voltage device, that it can actually harm the device integrity entirely.”