Apple expands the use of recycled materials across its products

Image: Apple.com

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Apple has released new details on the increased use of recycled content across its products. 

For the first time, the company introduced certified recycled gold, and more than doubled the use of recycled tungsten, rare earth elements, and cobalt. 

Nearly 20 percent of all material used in Apple products in 2021 was recycled, the highest-ever use of recycled content.

Apple released new details on this progress, its recycling innovation efforts, and clean energy in its 2022 Environmental Progress Report.

The company also shared new ways customers can celebrate Earth Day, including supporting World Wildlife Fund by using Apple Pay. 

Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives said as people around the world join in celebrating Earth Day, Apple is making real progress in its work to address the climate crisis and to one day make products without taking anything from the earth. 

“Our rapid pace of innovation is already helping our teams use today’s products to build tomorrow’s, and as our global supply chain transitions to clean power, we are charting a path for other companies to follow.”

Apple also announced its newest recycling innovation, Taz, a machine that uses a groundbreaking approach to improve material recovery from traditional electronics recycling.

Taz, a machine that uses new shredder-like technology to separate magnets from audio modules and recover more rare earth elements, is the latest in a series of recycling advancements spearheaded by Apple. 

The company has also further expanded the capabilities of its patented iPhone disassembly robot Daisy to take apart 23 models of iPhone, and has offered to license those patents to other companies and researchers free of charge. 

An additional robot, Dave, disassembles Taptic Engines, helping to recover valuable rare earth magnets, tungsten, and steel.

In 2021, 59 percent of all the aluminium Apple shipped in its products came from recycled sources, with many products featuring 100 percent recycled aluminium in the enclosure. 

Apple has also made significant progress toward the company’s goal to eliminate plastics from its packaging by 2025, with plastics accounting for just 4 percent of packaging in 2021 – Since 2015, Apple has reduced plastic in its packaging by 75 percent.

Additionally, Apple products in 2021 included: 

·      45 percent certified recycled rare earth elements, a significant increase since Apple introduced recycled rare earth elements in its devices. 

·      30 percent certified recycled tin, with all new iPhone, iPad, AirPods, and Mac devices featuring 100 percent recycled tin in the solder of their main logic boards.

·      13 percent certified recycled cobalt, used in iPhone batteries that can be disassembled by Apple’s recycling robot Daisy and returned to market. 

·      Certified recycled gold, featured — for the first time in any Apple product — in the plating of the main logic board and wire in the front camera and the rear cameras of iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. To achieve this milestone, Apple pioneered industry-leading levels of traceability to build a gold supply chain of exclusively recycled content.

Apple recently announced that its suppliers more than doubled their use of clean power over the last year, with over 10 gigawatts operational out of nearly 16 gigawatts in total commitments in the coming years. 

As of this month, 213 of the company’s major manufacturing partners have pledged to power all Apple production with renewable electricity across 25 countries. 

In 2021, these renewable projects avoided 13.9 million metric tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent to removing 3 million cars from the road for one year.

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