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Apple is taking bold steps towards its 2030 environmental goal of making every product carbon-neutral. The company has set new recycling targets for batteries, magnets, and circuit boards, which it aims to achieve by 2025. This is part of Apple’s long-term goal to make all its products using only recycled and renewable materials.
Apple has been working towards its environmental targets for a while. In 2018, the company achieved one of its goals of running all its own operations from renewable energy. Two years later, it committed to making its entire supply chain carbon-neutral by 2030, setting out a 10-year roadmap for achieving this.
However, progress has not been as rapid as the company had hoped. Last year, it announced that it would be using audits to enforce its requirements. Now, Apple is taking even more significant steps toward achieving its environmental goals.
The new recycling targets set by Apple are ambitious. The company plans to use 100% recycled cobalt in Apple-designed batteries, 100% recycled rare earth elements in all magnets in Apple devices, and printed circuit boards with 100% recycled gold plating and solder tin.
Apple says that it has already made significant progress towards these targets. For example, the company has expanded its use of 100% certified recycled cobalt over the past three years, making it possible to include it in all Apple-designed batteries by 2025. In 2022, a quarter of all cobalt found in Apple products came from recycled material, up from 13% the previous year.
Similarly, Apple’s use of 100% certified recycled rare earth elements has greatly expanded in the last year. Since first introducing recycled rare earths in the Taptic Engine of iPhone 11, Apple has expanded its use of the material across its devices, including in all magnets found in the latest iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook, and Mac models.
As part of the new timeline, all Apple-designed printed circuit boards will use 100% certified recycled gold plating by 2025. This includes rigid boards, such as the main logic board, and flexible boards, like those connecting to the cameras or buttons in the iPhone.
Apple has also been working towards eliminating all plastics from its packaging. Just 4% of plastic remains, in things like labels, and the company says that it has a number of initiatives designed to eliminate this. In the last year, Apple developed a custom printer to introduce digital printing directly onto the boxes of iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro, eliminating the need for most labels.
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All of these initiatives are part of Apple’s focus on 14 materials, prioritized based on the amount of each used in the production of the company’s products: aluminum, cobalt, copper, glass, gold, lithium, paper, plastics, rare earth elements, steel, tantalum, tin, tungsten, and zinc.
Apple’s new recycling targets are a significant step towards achieving the company’s environmental goals. As the company continues to work towards its targets, it is clear that Apple is committed to making a positive impact on the environment.