Apple halves greenhouse gas emissions and shares a recycling push, but is it greenwashing?

Apple halves greenhouse gas emissions and shares a recycling push, but is it greenwashing?

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Apple has set ambitious targets to achieve carbon neutrality across its entire value chain by 2030, with a focus on reducing emissions by 75 percent from 2015 levels. Recent updates indicate significant progress, with greenhouse gas emissions already cut by over 55 percent since 2015, suggesting the company is on track.

However, in a recent press release, Apple unveiled more intriguing insights alongside its carbon reduction milestones. Notably, the company revealed that in the past year alone, a record-breaking 12.8 million devices and accessories found new homes through initiatives like AppleCare and the Apple Trade In program.

 
Apple Trade In is a program that lets you trade in your old Apple device for credit towards a new one or for an Apple Gift Card. It’s a convenient way to recycle your old device and get some money off a new one. But have you ever wondered what becomes of your old iPhones when you trade them in for the latest model?

Apple has developed new tech to push forward in electronics recycling. For example, back in 2018, the company engineered a disassembly robot called Daisy, which can now break down 29 different iPhone models into 15 separate parts. Plus, the tech giant has also developed recycling machines named Dave and Taz, which are already being used with a recycling partner over in China.

Additionally, this year, Apple rolled out a new product sorter at its asset recovery center in California, aiming to automate the process for better efficiency and productivity. Apple says that it is dedicated to spreading this technology to recycling partners worldwide as an affordable, time-saving solution.

 
To boost efficiency even more, the asset recovery center in California has started using autonomous mobile robots to assist in moving products and components throughout the facility. On top of that, Apple is teaming up with academic institutions like Carnegie Mellon to dive deeper into using artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and automation to make recycling even better.

The company says that right now, devices as old as the iPhone 7, for example, still have trade-in value and encourages its customers to drop off their used Apple devices at any Apple Store or visit apple.com/recycle. Apple pledges to responsibly recycle products that are no longer valuable, recovering the valuable materials inside to give them a new life in future products.

Despite the progress, it’s not all smooth sailing in the recycling department

However, the integrity of Apple’s iPhone recycling program has come under scrutiny due to theft and wastage issues. Back in 2020, Apple even sued one of its recycling partners after 11,000 pounds of gadgets vanished into thin air. But it turns out iPhone pilfering isn’t the only headache for Apple’s recycling program.

According to a recent report, Apple has been regularly telling its recycling partner to destroy “tens of thousands” of devices that could have been refurbished instead.

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