Apple has one of the most aggressive sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it still pulls plenty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other products.
That’s about to change. The company is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry, “to stop mining the earth altogether.”
The announcement, part of Apple’s 2017 Environment Responsibility Report released Wednesday, will commit the company to making devices entirely from recycled materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, and tungsten. But there’s one hiccup: Apple doesn’t know exactly how it’s going to make that happen.
“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and a former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, told VICE News during an exclusive visit to Apple’s environmental testing lab on Monday. “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.”
Now this is the Apple I like to see. Leveraging their cash and resources to do something good. This is a moon-shot project; one that they don’t know how to accomplish yet, but if they put their minds – and their money – to it, they might just be able to.
Don’t think there isn’t business sense here as well. There are probably new recycling technologies that need to be developed, and patented, and Apple could eventually turn this into big business. But it’s be great to see this happen.
To be honest, I’d also like see Apple’s products designed to last longer. I’d like computers than are upgradeable, and phones that are designed to be used for several years instead of just one or two. That would cut down on the environmental impact of these devices.