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  • eth = $3 058.56 58.61 (1.95 %)

  • ton = $2.11 -0.03 (-1.54 %)

14 Apr, 2023
2 min time to read

About a year ago, on the occasion of Earth Day, Apple announced its plan to double the usage of recycled materials in its products and aim to eliminate the use of plastics in packaging by 2025.

Apple has made an announcement that it will require 100% recycled cobalt in all of its batteries, including those used in popular products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and MacBooks. The company has noted that batteries consume a significant majority of the cobalt it uses, and that the mining practices for cobalt can be problematic, as can the direct impact on those who do the mining. A Guardian story from 2021 highlights the horrific conditions that miners often face, including forced labor, hazardous working conditions, and child labor.

To address these issues, Apple has been working to expand the use of 100% certified recycled cobalt over the past three years, with the goal of including it in all Apple-designed batteries by 2025. The company has made significant progress in this area, with a quarter of all cobalt in Apple products in 2022 coming from recycled material, up from 13% the previous year.

This latest initiative follows similar efforts for other key materials such as aluminum, tungsten, and rare earth metals. The move towards greater sustainability is part of Apple's larger goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. According to VP Lisa Jackson, "Our ambition to one day use 100% recycled and renewable materials in our products works hand in hand with Apple 2030: our goal to achieve carbon neutral products by 2030. We're working toward both goals with urgency and advancing innovation across our entire industry in the process."

One key aspect of the company's efforts is the recycling of cobalt from older, end-of-life devices. Apple has been using its Daisy robotic arm to strip and separate materials from iPhones since 2019, and estimates that more than 11,000 kilograms of cobalt have been recovered from batteries extracted by Daisy and then returned to the secondary market. Daisy also helps recover rare earth elements, which are often lost through traditional electronics recycling processes.

In addition to its recycling efforts, Apple has also developed an overhead projector-based augmented reality system to guide human workers through the disassembly process. This system will be particularly important as the company seeks to disassemble and recycle more complex devices in the future, such as its XR headset. By taking a comprehensive approach to sustainability and innovation, Apple is setting a new standard for the tech industry and demonstrating that it is possible to achieve both profitability and sustainability.