Home / Insights / Apple Boosts Use of Recycled Materials and Aims for Carbon Neutrality

insights-espresso-icon blog

Apple Boosts Use of Recycled Materials and Aims for Carbon Neutrality

Espresso-live Speakers
by Sakthi Prasad , Director - Content
25 April 2023

apple recycled materials

iPhone maker Apple unveiled an ambitious plan to significantly expand the use of recycled materials in its products, with a 2025 target of using 100% recycled cobalt in all Apple-designed batteries, as well as incorporating entirely recycled rare earth elements in magnets and ensuring all Apple-designed printed circuit boards utilize 100% recycled tin soldering and gold plating.

Apple's dedication to sustainability has led to substantial advancements in incorporating recycled materials, as the company now sources over two-thirds of all aluminum, nearly three-quarters of all rare earths, and more than 95% of all tungsten from 100% recycled material. These efforts bring Apple closer to its ultimate goal of creating all products with only recycled and renewable materials, and support the company's 2030 target of achieving carbon neutrality for every product.

Apple has made significant strides in recent years to increase the use of recycled materials in its products. In 2022, the company reported that a quarter of all cobalt found in Apple products came from recycled material, up from 13% the previous year. Cobalt, a critical material used in most consumer electronics, including Apple devices, enables high energy density while meeting the company's robust standards for longevity and safety.

Apple's use of 100% certified recycled rare earth elements has also greatly expanded in the last year, going from 45% in 2021 to 73% in 2022. Since first introducing recycled rare earths in the Taptic Engine of the 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 magnets represent Apple's largest use of rare earths, the new 2025 target means nearly all rare earths in Apple products will soon be 100% recycled.

To accelerate its environmental goals, Apple has committed to using 100% certified recycled gold plating on all Apple-designed printed circuit boards by 2025. This includes rigid boards, such as the main logic board, and flexible boards, like those connecting to the cameras or buttons in iPhone. Apple has extended the use of recycled gold in additional components and products, including the wire of all cameras in the iPhone 14 lineup and printed circuit boards of iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods Pro, MacBook Pro, Mac mini, and HomePod.

By 2025, the company also plans to use 100% certified recycled tin soldering on all Apple-designed printed rigid and flexible circuit boards. In recent years, Apple's use of recycled tin has expanded to the solder of many flexible printed circuit boards across Apple products, with 38% of all tin used last year coming from recycled sources.

In addition to expanding the use of recycled materials, Apple is working towards eliminating plastics from the company's packaging. The development of fiber alternatives for packaging components like screen films, wraps, and foam cushioning has kept Apple on track toward this ambitious goal. To address the remaining 4% plastic in the company's packaging footprint, the company is innovating to replace labels, lamination, and other small uses. 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.

In 2022, about 20% of all material shipped in Apple products came from recycled or renewable sources. This includes the first use of recycled copper foil in the main logic board of iPad (10th generation), the introduction of certified recycled steel in the battery tray of MacBook Air with the M2 chip, 100% recycled tungsten in the latest Apple Watch lineup, and the aluminum enclosures found in many Apple products, made with a 100% recycled aluminum alloy designed by Apple.

Recommended Reads:

Stainless Steel Suppliers

Linkedin Twitter Facebook
Leave a comment

Please enter a valid name

Post your comment

Please select captcha


Get more stories like this

Subscirbe for more news,updates and insights from Beroe

Get Ahead with AI-Enabled Market Insights Schedule a Demo Now

Schedule a Demo Now