21 April 2017

Apple commits to pursue 100% recycled materials in its products

The technology giant pledged on Thursday 20 April to reduce its reliance on mined raw materials in the pursuit of making its products from renewable resources or recycled material.

In its latest annual Environmental Responsibility Report, Apple stated its aim of operating a closed-loop supply chain "where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled materials".

It went on to say: "We're also challenging ourselves to one day end our reliance on mining altogether."

The company has already begun work on looking into ways to reuse materials; for example melting down the aluminium cases of the iPhone 6 to make Mac mini computers to use in its factories and is now moving towards to 100 per cent recycled tin solder on the main logic board of the iPhone 6s.

It has also focused on a different way of producing aluminium which has resulted in the iPhone 7 enclosure using 27 per cent less of the material than the iPhone 6, and emitting 60 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions.

The report highlights the Apple Renew scheme to encourage customers to recycle their old devices, as well as Apple's piloting of "innovative new recycling technologies, like our line of disassembly robots, so we can put reclaimed materials to better use in new products".

"It's an ambitious goal that will require many years of collaboration across multiple Apple teams, our suppliers, and specialty recyclers - but our work is already under way," the report said.

The company has introduced a series of green initiatives over the past few years.

Apple has committed to reuse, recycle, compost or convert into energy all the waste created by its supply chain.

To date, 17 of the company’s 18 final assembly line and 25 of Apple suppliers having achieved zero waste since January 2015, and as much as 99 per cent of the paper in Apple product packaging already comes from recycled or responsibly managed sources.

In 2016, Apple sourced 96 per cent of the energy used at its global facilities from renewables, helping to reduce its carbon emissions by almost 585,000 metric tonnes – according to the report.

In addition, the company is using 100 per cent renewable energy in all of its data centres across 24 countries.

Apple is also encouraging its suppliers and partners to operate on renewable energy, with seven of its major suppliers already pledging to use 100 per cent renewable energy to power the manufacturing of their Apple products by the end of this year.

The report said: "And we're making strides toward our commitment to bring 4 gigawatts of renewable power online by 2020, a key step in reducing our manufacturing footprint.”

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