In 2021, Apple was able to source almost 20% of the materials used in all of its products from recycling. Ultimately, this is the highest percentage of recycled content in Apple production to date.
Details on progress in this area can be found in Apple’s recently released Environmental Progress Report (here in PDF format), which summarizes the company’s efforts and successes in this regard over the year. elapsed. In addition to advancements and innovations in recycling, Apple’s new environmental report also discusses successes in the use of renewable energy. In this context, Apple announced last week that the use of clean energy by Apple’s suppliers had more than doubled in the past year.
Apple’s recycling robot “Daisy”
In terms of recycling, Apple can boast of using certified recycled gold in production for the first time, and according to published figures, significantly more tungsten, rare earths and cobalt from reprocessing are used. When it comes to aluminum, Apple has a proven track record of using 59% materials from recycled sources over the past year. The use of plastics, on the other hand, has been further reduced. Last year, for example, they accounted for only 4% of Apple packaging. Since 2015, Apple has reduced the amount of plastic in its packaging by 75%, putting the company on track to achieve its goal of zero plastic in its packaging by 2025.
The recovery of these materials is also largely automated at Apple. With the help of special robots, relatively large amounts of gold and copper can be recovered in this way. Additionally, according to Apple, 12.2 million devices and accessories were sent to new owners for reuse in 2021, extending the life of these products.
Recycled materials in Apple 2021 products:
- 45% certified recycled rare earths, a significant increase since Apple started using recycled rare earths in its devices.
- 30% recycled tin certified, with all new iPhone, iPad, AirPods and Mac devices incorporating 100% recycled tin in their motherboard solder material.
- 13% certified recycled cobalt used in iPhone batteries, which are disassembled and recycled by Apple’s Daisy recycling robot.
- Certified Recycled Gold is used – for the first time in an Apple product – in the motherboard plating and front and rear camera cables of the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro. To take this step, Apple pioneered gold traceability and implemented a supply chain that uses only recycled materials.