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Apple pledges to create all future products from recycled materials

Apple has said it wants to build all of its future products from recycled materials as it moves towards a ‘closed-loop’ manufacturing process.

In its Environmental responsibility report, the iPhone creator said it would partly achieve this through the use of specially designed disassembly robots and hoped to create all of its products without producing any additional CO2. 

“We’re going deeper to pioneer a closed-loop supply chain, where products are made using only renewable resources or recycled material to reduce the need to mine materials from the earth,” Apple states in the report.

“That means continuing to invest in ways to recover materials from our products - like Liam, our line of disassembly robots - and encouraging our customers to return products through Apple Renew, our recycling program.

“And we’re launching projects and experiments that help us learn how to close loops. For example, we’ve melted down iPhone 6 aluminium enclosures recovered from Liam to make Mac mini computers for use in our factories and we’re transitioning to 100 per cent recycled tin solder on the main logic board of iPhone 6s.”

Currently, most major manufacturers of smartphones - including Apple, Samsung and others - use millions of tonnes of CO2 each year. The devices also contain components built from minerals such as tungsten, tantalum, cobalt and gold which have helped to fund conflicts and been linked to environmental degradation.

In the report, Apple also boasted that in 2016, 96 per cent of the electricity used at its global facilities came from renewable energy.

This reduced the company’s carbon emissions by nearly 585,000 metric tons and it is 100 per cent renewable in 24 countries. In addition, all of Apple’s data centres run on renewable sources.

“We’re pushing our manufacturing partners to join us in the fight against climate change,” Apple said.

“Seven major suppliers have now pledged to power their Apple production entirely with renewable energy by the end of next year. And we’re making strides toward our commitment to bring four gigawatts of renewable power online by 2020, a key step in reducing our manufacturing footprint.

“We launched our supplier clean energy program in October 2015. But between our own clean energy projects to target emissions from upstream suppliers and those our direct suppliers have embarked on, we already have commitments for two gigawatts of clean energy in our supply chain.”

The company also says it uses ‘responsibly-sourced’ or recycled paper for over 99 per cent of its product packaging.

In March, Apple introduced a limited-edition red iPhone, in support of the Product Red global fight against AIDS, alongside an updated version of the 9.7-inch iPad, new Watch straps and a video-creation app for iOS devices called Clips. 

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