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Apple Pledges To Make iPhones And Other Products Using Only Recycled Materials: Environmental Responsibility Report

21 April 2017, 6:02 am EDT By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
Apple has released its latest environmental responsibility report, detailing the efforts it made so far and the goals it has for the future. The company pledged to make future devices using only recycled materials, but it has yet to figure out how to achieve this.  ( Greenpeace | Twitter )

Apple has released its new environmental responsibility report and it wants to do more for the planet, pledging to build its next generation of products using only recycled materials.

Last year, Apple proved that environmental responsibility pays off, as the company made more than $40 million from recycling old devices and reusing the gold for constructing new ones.

Apple 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report

This year, Apple wants to take things to the next level and do even more for the environment. The company talks about "closing the loop" in terms of using raw materials, which could translate to major changes in how it makes devices.

Apple says that it's getting closer to a point when it will be able to use only recycled materials for its future devices. It hasn't reached that milestone just yet, and it still has a lot of work to do to ensure used iPhones return to Apple for recycling, but it's making progress.

Apple Pledges To Use Only Recycled Materials

"We're going deeper to pioneer a closed-loop supply chain, where products are made using only renewable resources or recycled material to reduce the need to mine materials from the earth," Apple explains [PDF]. "That means continuing to invest in ways to recover materials from our products - like Liam, our line of disassembly robots - and encouraging our customers to return products through Apple Renew, our recycling program."

Apple further points out that it's conducting experiments and programs to get better at closing loops. Its Liam robots take apart 2.4 million iPhone 6 models each year to recover materials that are then recycled and repurposed. For instance, Apple made a batch of Mac mini computers for use in its factories using recycled materials recovered from the iPhone 6 thanks to Liam.

Still Figuring Things Out

The company now pledges to stop relying on mining and to make devices using recycled materials only, but it doesn't mention any specific timeline for such efforts. In fact, in an interview with Vice, Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives admits that the company has yet to figure out how to achieve its ambitious goal.

"We're actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we've completely figured out how to do it," Jackson tells Vice.

Even so, the notable progress Apple has made so far proves the company's commitment to the environment and boosts confidence that it will manage to meet even more ambitious targets.

Last year, Apple used renewable energy for 96 percent of all electricity used at its global facilities and 100 percent of all electricity used in 24 countries and all of its data centers. According to the report, this reduced its carbon footprint by almost 585,000 metric tons.

Apple's Priorities For Environmental Responsibility

The company remains committed to saving the planet and is focusing on three priorities:

1. Using renewable energy sources and increasing energy efficiency in its facilities and products to reduce the impact on climate change

2. Conserving precious resources

3. Using safer materials in its processes and products

Apple has made consistent efforts to be greener and it's currently among the most environmentally friendly and sustainable companies around.

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