Stay on target
Last year, Apple announced that its supply chain was certified to be 100% conflict mineral free. Now they’re committing to stop using mined metals altogether.
It’s a big leap to make, going from conflict-free to 100% recycled. This isn’t something Apple is going to make happen overnight, of course. It’s a long-term goal and one that’s going to take a considerable amount of planning to make a reality.
To hear that Apple wants to shift entirely to sustainable sources isn’t a surprise. They’ve been moving in a more sustainable direction for years, and we’ve seen proof in a couple of different places.
iFixit’s repairability scores are one. A few years ago, Apple products were notoriously difficult to repair. That’s still the case with some (the iPad Air 2, for example), but others have gotten much easier to disassemble and re-assemble.
Another indicator is the environmental reports put out by Greenpeace. Again, Apple used to come out on the bottom. Now they’re among the best — if not the best. They’ve come out on top three years in a row now.
Curiously, that’s even with a recycling program that leaves a lot to be desired. Vice has published a report that shows a few glaring problems. For one, only a very small percentage of the devices Apple is recycling are Apple devices. They’re recycling a lot of electronics, yes, but Vice found the bulk of the weight processed to be old, heavy things like televisions, VCRs, printers, and monitors.
On top of that, Vice learned through FOI requests in several states that Apple requires its recycling partners to shred any Apple devices they process. That’s a big problem since many of those devices contain parts that are still perfectly good and could be harvested and used to repair others.