Apple says it will use only recycled materials to build iPhones in the future

Future iPhones and other Apple products such as iPads and MacBooks could be made using entirely recycled and reused materials as the company announced it would be taking steps to end its reliance on mining for resources.

The pledge comes as part of Apple’s 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report, which was released on Wednesday and outlines how the company wants to move towards a ‘closed-loop supply chain’.

That means it will no longer be mining for materials in the future, though at this point it remains unclear how the company will get to that point and when.

On top of its recycled material goals for products, Cupertino also says it has managed to use 99% recycled and responsibly sourced paper in its packaging, and is hoping to move towards 100%.

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The company states on its environment report page: “We’re moving toward a closed-loop supply chain. One day we’d like to be able to build new products with just recycled materials, including your old products.”

In a recent interview with Vice, Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, also commented on Apple’s desire to increase its use of recycled materials.

She said the company is working towards “not necessarily having to source from the earth for everything that we need… We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it.”

It seems there’s still a way to go until Apple gets to the point where it can stop mining for materials, though it has already shown off a number of ways in which it has tried to incorporate sustainable practices into its production process.

Last year it demonstrated a recycling robot that deconstructs iPhone 6S handsets, recycling parts for use in other phones, and has carried out an audit of its supply chain following reports of children working in a cobalt mine in the Congo.

In a page explaining its resource ambitions, Apple says: “To start, we’re encouraging more customers to recycle their old devices through Apple Renew.

“And we’re piloting innovative new recycling techniques, like our line of disassembly robots, so we can put reclaimed materials to better use in new products.

“It’s an ambitious goal that will require many years of collaboration across multiple Apple teams, our suppliers, and specialty recyclers — but our work is already under way.”

Let us know what you think of Apple’s pledge in the comments.

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