Apple’s Ambitious Recycled Materials Goal
Read the full article at Triple Pundit.
Electronic waste, commonly called e-waste, is a big problem. Over 20 million tons of e-waste are produced annually, around 3.4 million tons of which hail from the U.S. According to iFixit, e-waste in the U.S. alone would weigh more than the combined weight of every living blue whale.
As global use of electronics increases, the volume of e-waste naturally rises with it. But one major American tech company wants to do something to cut this growing waste stream down to size. Last week, Apple announced a commitment to use 100 percent recycled materials to make its products. That makes it the first major IT firm to adopt such a commitment, which appeared in the company’s 2017 Environmental Responsibility report.
Lisa Jackson, former head of the EPA who now serves as Apple’s VP of environment, policy and social initiatives, told Vice News the tech giant is “actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it.”
In order for Apple to achieve its commitment to using 100 percent recycled materials, it will need to create a closed-loop supply chain — a goal the company says it’s working toward. And there’s something else the tech firm wants to achieve that’s equally ambitious: It wants to eventually ends its reliance on mining.
Many of the materials that make up electronics like smartphones and tablets must be mined — and human rights groups can link some electronics firms to labor abuses through their mining supply chains. To begin to free itself from mining, Apple is encouraging customers to recycle their old devices through Apple Renew, from which it will source recycled materials. It is also piloting new recycling techniques such as a line of disassembly robots it calls Liam.