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When in 2020 Apple decided to eliminate headphones and chargers from its new iPhone models, it caused surprise and controversy. Under the pretext of seeking to reduce its footprint in the face of pollution, the company has implemented the measure for its models of iPhone 11, 12, X-ray Yes SE 2020, and that didn’t leave his followers very satisfied, who were already used to hoarding chargers, even moving through charging ports. But no one thought that over the years those who would take sides would be the government entities themselves.

On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) agreed that by 2024, all portable electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets will need to have a single universal charger. At the time, before the definition of the Parliament, it was the very firm of Cupertino which opposed the measure. Of course, the decision installed that the charging port of all devices then has a USB-C input, and it is the one that the vast majority of products on the market have. From Xiaomi to Samsung, Huawei, Nokia, among thousands of others. The great part, all except Apple, which is the interested party.

Apple was the main company opposed to the proposal, which had started a few years ago to reduce its footprint of technological contamination.

The approach of the EU has come closer, to a certain extent, to that of the firm founded by Steve Jobs in the past. The main concern is the damage to the environment, eliminating the amount of technological waste and, taking into account the different eventualities that have arisen in recent years, also taking care of the pockets of users in its member countries, taking into account the war in which this continent is emerging.

Some companies have taken different paths, but then coalesced. Today’s users are so used to USB-Cwho have almost forgotten micro usb and who has accompanied them for years in various models and businesses. Further behind were the fast shipping (used by Sony Ericsson, for example), and which have been replaced by the Mini. And going a little further, the traditional pin loaders, which were used by some Samsung and Nokia devices, in a list that I could follow for minutes, but which reflects the industry’s big impact in terms of waste. Who does not remember any of these may have never had to borrow a charger.

In its press release, the European Parliament hinted at how users will be affected by its decision. Different charging devices will no longer be necessary, because all devices will have to have a universal system. What was defined this week has been dragged from 2009, when the same body limited the ecosystem of about thirty types of chargers, to the three that we maintain today: Mini, USB-C and Lightning. This rule was in effect until 2014 and the option that triumphed this week was proposed.

Of the thirty alternatives that existed before 2009, three were defined in Europe. Of these, the USB-C option triumphed this week and is already used by most tech companies in their charging ports.

Without yet having precise communication on the subject from the company led by Tim Cook, the agreement would now imply that the company will have to start producing or working on prototypes with this contribution. Although some of your computers have USB-C outlets, cell phones may be affected. This, yes, users who already have an iPhone They won’t have any problems, but in case you want to upgrade to “a new generation”, your old chargers won’t work for you.

Some time before the measure was ratified by the European Parliament, the proposal resonated with the local Congress. A few months ago, the UDI deputies, Cristóbal Martínez and Henry Leal, proposed a bill to reduce electronic pollution in the country, and which has Chile as one of the largest producers of this type of waste at the regional level.

As Cristóbal Martínez explains, the climate crisis is a very relevant factor to take into account. “Our country is no exception, and we saw the need to move forward with a project that could contribute to the various strategies that have been taken to combat this emergency,” the congressman said. In fact, they took as a reference the same project proposed by the EU, “understanding that if they could agree on a measure of such magnitude, we do not see why we could not move forward in the same leadership and be pioneers in the continent.

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In any case, he continues, there are factors specific to them which make them think that at the national level all the conditions are met to have a universal charger. “This not only for mobile phones, but also for other electronic devices that we have in our ecosystem, such as tablets, smartwatches or hearing aids,” explains Martínez. WHERE

One of the strongest arguments, says the deputy, is that in February of this year there were more than 33 million mobile phones in Chile, becoming the fourth country in Latin America with more devices than of inhabitants. This, not to mention the amount of technological waste. “It’s just a point, because we are also the first to offer the cheapest cell phone prices and mobile plans in South America,” he says.

Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for Industry, was one of the spokespersons on the subject during this period.

These benefits, which accrue to all Chileans, he says, of course also come with negative costs. It refers to the generation of electronic waste that is generated here, mainly by all devices and cables that are no longer used and are thrown away. This, in addition, with the little capacity that exists in the local industry to be able to act against all this waste. The truth is that at the national level there is no such powerful recycling industry and different initiatives have emerged in this regard to face the different fronts.

“This project would not only make life easier for everyone, but above all it would make a very important contribution to the environment and, although we have not yet quantified how many tonnes of waste would stop being thrown away each year if it were approved, we are absolutely sure that would be a very large percentage, ”he develops.

The project was presented on April 21 recently adopted and, since then, it remains for the Economics Commission to begin its legislative process, which depends on the will that exists on the part of the various political sectors. “Our call is to take the initiative very seriously, to see how the European Union is working on it and thus become pioneers in promoting regulations of this type in Latin America,” he says.

This is not the only time that the European cause has resonated on this side of the continent. In 2014, in Europe, the tour of a universal charger for mobile devices began. A year later, two deputies from the PPD and the president of the National Corporation of Consumers and Users met with the Minister of Transport and Telecommunications at the time, Andrés Gómez-Lobo. The argument this time was that there were 24 million cell phones in the country, a figure that already exceeded the total population nationally. The Telecommunications Portfolio Manager’s response was that they would be watching for the outcome of the initiative in Europe, but it doesn’t have a verdict until 2022.

“When the European Commission first proposed establishing a universal charger in mobile phones, few welcomed it and even some companies openly opposed the measure, but a few weeks ago we saw with surprise that these same companies were open to changing the type of charger they use, which shows that the proposal is going in the right direction,” says Martínez.

The approval, the parliamentarian says, encourages them to insist on the bill, which also establishes a two-year deadline to apply. “If it is specified first in Europe, it will be much easier to apply it to other continents,” he points out.

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