Apple recycled greater than 100 million kilos of its units final yr, and it used 10% recycled or renewable supplies throughout its product line. The corporate launched the main points in its annual sustainability report.
The Cupertino, Calif.-headquartered electronics producer reported its general recycled content material for 2019. “Based mostly on provider experiences, 10% of the whole materials we shipped in merchandise in 2019 got here from both recycled or renewable sources, one-third of which has been confirmed via third-party certifications,” Apple wrote.
Some merchandise include considerably greater than that determine. For instance, the MacBook Air with Retina show, launched a yr in the past, incorporates over 40% recycled content material.
Apple launched “greater than 100 elements with a mean of 46% recycled plastic throughout merchandise launched in 2019,” in keeping with the report. As one instance, the corporate pointed to its work growing a plastic with greater than 35% recycled content material that “affords the superior acoustic properties wanted for audio system.”
“We’ve additionally launched plastics with the power and resilience wanted for protecting circumstances – made with about 40% recycled content material,” the report states.
Uncommon earth recycling challenge
The Taptic Engine, which is used within the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Professional and iPhone 11 Professional Max, is now constructed from 100% recycled uncommon earth components.
That course of started with a group from Apple visiting a provider in China and analyzing alternatives for better supplies restoration and reuse. A pilot challenge that focused uncommon earth magnets resulted in a scaled-up system of recovering these metals. The corporate launched its newest disassembly robotic, named “Dave,” which takes aside the Taptic Engine and different elements to get better uncommon earth components, metal and tungsten.
“Whereas our disassembly robotic, Daisy, can take aside iPhone units into distinct elements, our latest disassembly robotic, Dave, takes the following step – disassembling the Taptic Engine to get better the uncommon earth magnets inside,” in keeping with the report.
Apple stated it has begun deploying Dave robots in order that the corporate’s “specialty recyclers can get better recycled uncommon earth components” and different key supplies.
Apple first introduced Dave and the Taptic Engine’s recycled content material final week.
On a separate uncommon earth restoration entrance, Apple stated it’s working with policymakers to “deal with restrictions on the motion of digital waste,” in keeping with the report. The corporate is excited by enabling motion of end-of-life supplies with out compromising safeguards that guarantee accountable disposal, the report states.
Different takeaways from the report embody:
- Lithium-ion batteries recovered by the Daisy robotic are offering substantial metals feedstock for the corporate. For instance, this stream has helped Apple safe “a brand new provide of recycled cobalt to be used in future merchandise.” These disassembled iPhones are additionally producing a big provide of gold to be used in new merchandise.
- The corporate started utilizing 100% recycled copper in one of many foils of its printed circuit boards, which is getting used within the iPhone 11.
- Apple despatched greater than 11 million units to be refurbished and offered to new customers in 2019. That was a 42% improve over the prior yr.
- Apple’s takeback and recycling assortment applications, which it participates in or affords in nearly all of the nations it sells merchandise into, despatched 103.6 million kilos of Apple units to recycling globally in 2019.
- Apple referenced numerous recycling objectives within the report. The corporate described “ambitions” together with utilizing solely recycled and renewable supplies in its merchandise and packaging, in addition to eliminating plastics from its packaging by 2025.
- The corporate is excited by “what the way forward for recycling could possibly be,” describing expertise that “permits recyclers to course of excessive volumes of various and more and more complicated digital waste.” Apple is working with Carnegie Mellon College to use machine studying to enhance recycling applied sciences. “Researchers are growing strategies to coach automated techniques to type waste in real-time and study as they go – so the expertise can evolve as waste streams do,” the corporate wrote. “Any software program created from this joint initiative can be open-sourced to assist higher assist e-waste recycling all over the world.”
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