Saturday 22 April 2017

Apple To Make Its Future Phones From 100% Recycled Material


Apple has released its yearly environmental responsibility report and pledged that future iPhones will be made from 100% recycled materials.

The company is trying to lower its reliance on the raw materials that make up its phones, tablets and computers.

However, it has admitted that it's still figuring out how to get to that point.

“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Lisa Jackson, Apple's VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, told VICE News .

“So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.”

According to Apple's report, the firm has decreased its carbon footprint over the last twelve months by 23%.

But the company still relies on materials like zinc, copper, tungsten and colbalt. The last of those has attracted negative headlines recently due to its impact in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it's mined.

Mountain gorillas have seen their habitat destroyed as more and more workers use the land for mining cobalt.

Apple has set out plans to turn this around by shifting to recycled materials, even though it acknowledges this isn't possible at the moment.

“We are committing as a company to not necessarily having to source from the earth for everything that we need,” Jackson said.

Even though it still has to make big changes to the manufacturing, Apple's report shows how it's doing in other areas. The company notes that its facilities around the world now run on 96% renewable energy.

This doesn't include third-party manufacturers like Foxconn, but Apple points out that it's trying to work with them to become more efficient as well.

"We’re pushing our manufacturing partners to join us in the fight against climate change. Seven major suppliers have now pledged to power their Apple production entirely with renewable energy by the end of next year," the report notes.

"And we’re making strides toward our commitment to bring 4 gigawatts of renewable power online by 2020, a key step in reducing our manufacturing footprint.

"It’s clear to us that now, more than ever, we can show the way to a better future. We’re constantly working to show what’s possible and inspire others to create a healthier environment."

Previous commitments from Apple towards going green have involved a robot called Liam, which can strip down busted iPhones to help recover the materials that can be re-used in future phones.

Apple said that Liam, which has been under development for nearly three years, can recover materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, tungsten, cobalt, gold and silver from discarded iPhones to be recycled.

The Liam system, which is made up of 29 robotic arms, has already been installed near Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, and the company plans to build a second robot in Europe for the same purpose.

The build-up of electronic waste is an increasing problem here in the UK.

Research from the memory and storage company Crucial suggests that over 13 million computers have been binned in the last five years.

That's based on extrapolations from a survey in which a fifth of the 2,000 respondents admitted they threw away at least one working computer in the last half-decade rather than recycling or upgrading them.

"One of the leading contributors to landfill waste in the UK is e-waste, created by disused or discarded technology including household appliances like old PCs," said Jeremy Mortenson, memory product line manager at Crucial.



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