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Apple is using more recycled materials in its devices

Apple increased the amount of recycled materials featured in its products in 2021, including more tungsten, rare earth elements, cobalt, and, for the first time, certified recycled gold. 

The above comes from Apple’s 2022 Environmental Progress Report, which touches on the materials used in the brand’s products, along with its progress in relation to recycling innovations and clean energy. 

According to Apple, nearly 20 percent of all material used in its products in 2021 was recycled. 

This includes 59 percent of all aluminium used – with some products boasting a 100 percent recycled aluminium enclosure – as well as 45 percent of all rare earth elements, 30 percent of all tin and 13 percent of all cobalt found in the batteries. 

The iPhone 13 series even includes certified recycled gold for the first time, meaning the plating of the main logic board and the wire in the front and rear cameras are all made of recycled materials. 

Lastly, Apple has also cut the amount of plastic in its packaging down to just four percent. That’s a 75 percent decrease compared with 2015, with the goal being to get rid of it entirely by 2025. 

The point of using recycled materials is to reduce the amount of mining needed to source new ones. 

In fact, Apple claims its recycling robots are capable of recovering the same amount of copper and gold from one metric ton of iPhone components as would usually be extracted from 2,000 metric tons of mined rock. 

“As people around the world join in celebrating Earth Day, we are making real progress in our work to address the climate crisis and to one day make our products without taking anything from the earth”, said Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson. 

“Our rapid pace of innovation is already helping our teams use today’s products to build tomorrow’s, and as our global supply chain transitions to clean power, we are charting a path for other companies to follow”.

If you’re interested in your recycling your Apple products (or any old tech), make sure to check out our guide to recycling electronics.

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