Apple have pledged to make an iPhone entirely from recycled material which will have zero environmental impact.
Currently smartphones from Apple, Samsung and other manufactures use millions of tonnes of CO2 each year. Many phones also contain components built from minerals such as tungsten, tantalum, cobalt and gold. However in March, Apple stopped buying cobalt mined by hand in Congo, due to reports of child labour and dangerous working conditions.
Reports from Apple, however, do suggest that the company has a way to go in order to achieve this ambition. Lisa Jackson, Apples head of environmental policy stated “We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it.”
Apple need more customers to recycle their devices. They already have a machine called “Liam” that can take apart around 2.4 million phones a year so their parts can be reused. Apple also need to do more to reduce its estimated 29.5 million metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. More than a third of these are from the production of aluminium. The company have already reduced the amount of aluminium in the iPhone 7 by 27% compared to the iPhone 6.
Gary Cook, a senior analyst at Greenpeace International said: “Apple’s commitment to 100 per cent recycled materials is ambitious, and highlights the need for greater urgency across the sector to reduce resource consumption and e-waste that are causing significant impacts on the environment and human health. Transitioning to non-virgin raw materials will help to decrease the demand for mined metals and other inputs, and increase recycling rates of electronics directly.”
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