3 Ways Apple is Actually Supporting the Environment

Say what you want about Apple’s new product lineup—it’s at least a move in the right direction for the environment. While Apple may not necessarily be the picture of sustainability, the tech giant is finally catching on to the need to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Having sold almost 2 billion iOS devices, Apple is a massive contributor to our growing issue of electronic waste. These tough-to-recycle devices are ending up in our landfills and polluting our soil and waterways.

The popularity of smartphones also encourages another socially and environmentally destructive practice: mining. The more smartphones we make, the more precious materials we need to steal from the earth.

As you probably know, Apple recently released their line of new iPhones—the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max. And sure, they’re fancy and expensive, but they are also a little more conscious than their predecessors. Here are some strong efforts Apple is making towards sustainability.

3 Ways Apple is Actually Supporting the Environment

1. Their new phones contain recycled tin and plastic.

The iPhones X and XR will contain 35 percent post-consumer recycled plastic in their speaker enclosures. Additionally, their cover glass will be made of 32 percent bio-based plastics (plastics which are not derived from petroleum or natural gas).

What’s more, they will be using recycled tin in their logic boards. Apple expects that this small but significant shift will prevent more than 10,000 tons of tin ore from being mined each year.

At a news conference after the recent product launch, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, said, ”We hope to one day eliminate our need to mine new materials from the earth.” She also reiterated that Apple is steadily working towards moving all of its facilities to exclusively renewable energy.

2. They will hopefully save more phones from landfills.

This move to use and recycle bits of old tech could encourage less tech to go to landfills, where they leach mercury, cadmium, lead, and other harmful chemicals into the environment.

Apple has a buyback program in which you can trade in your old phones and put them towards the cost of new devices you want. They’ll recycled what materials they can from the old phones and dispose of them properly while crediting it towards your new device, meaning it’s a win for your wallet and a win for the environment.

3 Ways Apple is Actually Supporting the Environment

They are trying to save the mangroves.

What’s the big deal with saving the mangroves? These coastal forests actually act as incredible carbon sinks, soaking up lots of excess CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it into their underwater roots. Losing our mangrove forests would be a big loss in the battle to reduce the carbon in our atmosphere.

Apple developed a charity to protect them. Specifically, Apple has invested a sizable chunk of money in protecting and restoring 27,000 acres of mangrove forest on the coast of Columbia. According to Lisa Jackson, “These forests are critical because they’re one of nature’s most important tools in the battle against climate change–they can absorb and store up to ten times more carbon than a terrestrial forest.”

Of course, Apple hasn’t made their phones any easier to repair, which would be the ultimate step towards greener tech. The disposability of their designs is a major part of the growing tech waste problem. If you do have an old iPhone, don’t throw it away. Recycle it, either with Apple or another tech recycling service. Do your part.

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Images via Thinkstock

97 comments

Janis K
Janis K10 days ago

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson11 days ago

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Jan K
Jan K25 days ago

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Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago

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Ruth S
Ruth S1 months ago

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Hannah K
Hannah K1 months ago

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Shae L
Shae L1 months ago

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Paula A
Paula A1 months ago

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Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer1 months ago

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Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer1 months ago

Hmmm. Interesting article about Apple.

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