Apple recycling targets for batteries, magnets, and circuit boards

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Apple recycling targets for batteries, magnets, and circuit boards


New Apple recycling targets have been set for batteries, magnets, and circuit boards, as the company works toward its 2030 environmental goal of making every product carbon-neutral.

Apple has an ambitious long-term goal to make all its products using only recycled and renewable materials, and today’s 2025 targets are a step toward this …

Background

Apple has set a number of environmental targets for itself, achieving one of them back in 2018: running all its own operations from renewable energy.

Two years later, Apple committed to making its entire supply chain carbon-neutral by 2030, setting out a 10-year road map for achieving this.

Progress didn’t seem to be as rapid as the company had hoped, as it last year announced that it would be using audits to enforce its requirements.

2025 Apple recycling targets

Apple has now set three new recycling targets, which it plans to hit by 2025:

  • 100% recycled cobalt in Apple-designed batteries
  • 100% recycled rare earth elements in all magnets in Apple devices
  • Printed circuit boards to use 100% recycled gold plating and solder tin

The company says that it has already made rapid progress toward these targets.

Apple has significantly expanded the use of 100 percent certified recycled cobalt over the past three years, making it possible to include 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 percent the previous year […]

The company’s use of 100 percent certified recycled rare earth elements has greatly expanded in the last year as well, going from 45 percent in 2021 to 73 percent in 2022. 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 accelerated new timeline, all Apple-designed printed circuit boards will use 100 percent 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 iPhone. Since pioneering an exclusively recycled supply chain for gold in the plating of the main logic board for iPhone 13, Apple has extended the material’s use 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 […]

Apple’s use of recycled tin has expanded to the solder of many flexible printed circuit boards across Apple products, with 38 percent of all tin used last year coming from recycled sources. The application of recycled tin across even more components is underway, and the company is engaging more suppliers in this effort.

Apple says it is also most of the way toward its existing 2025 goal of 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. And a new overprint varnish found in iPad Air, iPad Pro, and Apple Watch Series 8 packaging replaces the polypropylene plastic lamination found on boxes and packaging components. 

These are all part of the 14 materials Apple has 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.

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