Apple is Committed to Use Only Recycled Material
Apple is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry to “stop mining the earth altogether.”
The move will commit the company to make devices entirely from recycled materials such as aluminium, copper, tin, and tungsten. Except there is no concrete plan on exactly how that is happening.
“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Lisa Jackson, Apple vp of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and a former head of the EPA, told VICE News during an exclusive visit to Apple’s environmental testing lab Monday. “So 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.”
At current moment, the Cupertino giant’s facility runs on 96 percent renewable energy. While that figure doesn’t include Apple’s many third-party manufacturers, but Apple says it’s making progress with them, too.
“Meeting the goal could also reduce Apple’s reliance on minerals mined in conflict areas. Apple has been addressing the issue of conflict minerals by conducting third-party audits at its smelters, and that’s a source of pride for Jackson. But the company has yet to declare its products conflict-free.” Vice news wrote.
Apple’s end point will “require many years of collaboration across multiple Apple teams, our suppliers, and specialty recyclers,” the report says. At the moment, the company is encouraging customers to recycle their old devices through its Renew program, which lets you trade in your old Apple devices to be refurbished for resale or recycled.
Apple also touted the its disassembling robot Liam, which it introduced last year. Liam “can quickly disassemble iPhone 6, sorting its high-quality components with the goal of reducing the need to mine more resources from the earth,” Apple says.
Apple has already been melting down the aluminum enclosures Liam recovered from iPhone 6, and reused the material to create Mac mini computers the company uses internally. “We wanted to show it was possible to use our own scrap to build new products,” Apple wrote. “Now we’re looking for opportunities to expand this pilot.”
Still, Vice is critical of Apple’s effort. “Apple sees climate change as a problem that can be “solved” through new technologies. Because of this — and its obvious need for continued profits — Apple continues to reject the idea that the company could meet its environmental goals sooner if it made its products last longer, and gave its customers the ability to easily repair them on their own.”
More about this report on Vice’s website.