Apple has expanded the use of recycled materials and rare metals in the iPhone, Mac and other devices as part of its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of its products.
For the first time, Apple introduced certified recycled gold into its supply chain and doubled the use of recycled tungsten, rare earth elements and cobalt.
Nearly 20% of all materials used in Apple products were recycled last year, while the amount of plastic used in its packaging fell to just 4%.
Apple plans to be carbon neutral by 2030 and already uses clean energy to power its global facilities. The company will also develop low-carbon product designs, launch recycling initiatives and reduce its own electricity needs.
This means that within a decade, every iPhone, iPad or Apple device sold will have a net zero impact on the climate.
“As people around the world join in celebrating Earth Day, we are making real progress in our work to address the climate crisis and one day make our products without taking anything from the earth,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives.
“Our rapid pace of innovation is already helping our teams use the products of today to build those of tomorrow, and as our global supply chain transitions to clean energy, we are charting a path forward to other companies.”
To reduce the need to mine these precious metals, Apple has made its devices easier to repair and refurbish so they can be reused, while also investing in technology to extract parts from end-of-life devices. .
The company’s “Daisy” robot can disassemble 12 iPhone models, while the “Dave” robot disassembles Taptic motors to recover magnets, tungsten and steel. The newest addition is ‘Taz’ which uses chippers to separate magnets from audio modules and recover metals.
Apple says its robots can extract the same amount of gold and copper from one metric ton of components as they can from 2,000 metric tons of mined rock.
More recently, Apple used the first industrially produced carbon-free aluminum to build the iPhone SE. The aluminum was created using a new smelting process created using funds from Apple’s $4.7 billion green bond investment in low-carbon technologies and of recycling.