Waste News

Apple vows to use only recycled materials

According to Lisa Jacks, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, the technology company is on the verge of a new initiative that pledges to use 100 per cent recycled materials in the fabrication of its devices.

Speaking to VICE News, she said, “we’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it.”

She continued, saying that, “we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.”

The initiative shall be introduced in conjunction with this year’s Environmental Responsibility Report that covers the fiscal year for 2016.

In the report, the company outlines its aim to cease mining for new resources and that it plans to “one day” move to a closed-loop manufacturing system — although it is not quite sure how it will do it.

As a first step the company will encourage consumers to return old iPhones when they upgrade to a new handset, enabling for the in-house disassembly machine, named Liam, to extract crucial materials.

Last year Liam(s) disassembled approximately 2.4 million phones, although the company sold 75 million in the quarter ending in December 2016 alone.

Apple’s carbon footprint stood at 29,500,000 million metric tonnes last year, with manufacturing taking up 77 per cent of that figure, and 60 per cent of that figure coming from electricity used to make products.

In 2015 Apple started liaising with electricity suppliers to explore avenues to reduce electricity and by the end of 2016 conducted 34 energy audits that identified over $55 annual savings opportunities.

In the same year energy efficient improvements by suppliers avoided more than 150,000 metrics tonnes of carbon dioxide release.

Not everyone is happy however, as Greenpeace has stated that it is simply not enough, despite also praising Apple’s commitment, saying that, “while transitioning to 100 percent recycled materials is critical to reducing the sector’s footprint, it is also fundamental for Apple and other major IT companies to design products that last, are easy to repair and recyclable at the end of life.”

The non-profit also stated that other brands, such as much under-fire Samsung, should match Apple’s commitment or risk falling behind.

Andy has worked as a freelance journalist for a number of years and has been published in some of the UK’s top newspapers. He is now the editor Commercial Waste Magazine and contributes to a large selection of headlines and blog articles on the site.

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