Apple promises to one day stop mining minerals to make iPhones

“Apple has one of the most aggressive sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it still pulls plenty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and other products,” Arielle Duhaime-Ross reports for VICE News.

“That’s about to change. The company is set to announce a new, unprecedented goal for the tech industry, ‘to stop mining the earth altogether,'” Duhaime-Ross reports. “The announcement, part of Apple’s 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report released Wednesday, will commit the company to making devices entirely from recycled materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, and tungsten.”

“But there’s one hiccup: Apple doesn’t know exactly how it’s going to make that happen,” Duhaime-Ross reports. “‘We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,’ Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives and a former head of the EPA, Lisa Jackson, told VICE News during an exclusive visit to Apple’s environmental testing lab on Monday.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: According to Apple, the company’s comprehensive 2016 carbon footprint was 29,500,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Many more facts and figures in Apple’s 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report here.

Apple continues supply chain transparency as Trump administration considers suspending conflict mineral requirements – March 27, 2017
Apple takes groundbreaking steps to combat deadly trade in conflict minerals – April 1, 2016
Apple says they’re making progress eliminating conflict minerals – February 12, 2015
Where Apple gets the tantalum for your iPhone – February 5, 2015
Greenpeace praises Apple for reducing use of conflict minerals – February 13, 2014
Apple confirms suppliers use conflict-free minerals – February 13, 2014


    1. Your absolutist interpretation is noted.

      Apple has stated a long term goal. Everything in Apple’s annual environmental report is intended to show that the company is working toward these longstanding goals.

      Moreover, Apple doesn’t have much of a choice but to increase the recycled content of its products. There simply isn’t enough affordable rare earth metals to continue increasing the use of virgin ores forever, especially for a company that attempts to get its customers to replace their hardware every 3 years or less. Apple needs to learn how to recycle its materials, as all large producers must.

      Try to keep up with the plot, botvinnik. Recycling technologies will become more and more important in the future for Apple and any other company that uses several of these mined minerals. Apple has not said they will be making all their products from organic biomass.

      Also: aluminum like most metals is easily recycled, if only humans weren’t so lazy about doing so.

      1. Mike, your response is well-reasoned. The vote count is a reflexive reaction from the alt-right on this forum who operate like a mindless school of fish.

        You are right. botty is insane. End of story.

  1. Unless these materials can be readily recycled from devices that are being replaced, Apple will probably wind up making significant redesigns that may not work as intended or as reliably. Its one thing to want to be “environmentally friendly”, which Apple really likes to do with solar (that I think will cause them issues in the long run) however it doesn’t make sense to “promise” something that they may not really ever be able to deliver on.

      1. No, botty, it is called aggressive goal setting, and the stated goal is ‘to stop mining the earth altogether.’

        Did you ever stop to think that some of these materials might eventually be sourced from space (asteroids, etc.)? That would satisfy Apple’s goal in combination with recycling materials on Earth.

        As for lying, you need to take a step back and get a clue that your own chosen people are lying out of their jackasses just about every day. It isn’t always the other guy.

        Did your mother ever get you checked? You are certifiable.

        1. goddamn, Melvin…you cannot create and manufacture consumer electronics without mining the ores for the metals that make them…an analogy would be building houses of wood with the goal of never cutting down a tree.

          wtf is wrong with you?

  2. So I take it that toddler Timmy is going to pull the minerals out of his ass. He should pull his head out of there and get in with the business of better and faster upgrades to the computer hardware and not the just the phone.

  3. I’m happy to hear Apple has such long-term goals but unfortunately, Wall Street cares nothing about things like the environment unless they can make money from it. In this case, this goal seems like a long-term money loser as it will likely drive up the cost of Apple products while other companies continue to do things as is.

    While Apple tries to lower the environmental footprint of its products, the PC world is stuffing 1000W power supplies and overclocked dual-GTX 1080ti GPUs into their ever-demanding gaming rigs. Whatever power Apple saves will be used up by the Windows PC side as their computers get ever more powerful in an attempt to gain a few more FPS. Apple will certainly get no respect for saying it’s trying to save the environment and Apple desktop users will continue to own the least powerful computers.

    1. Rhetorical question:

      Would you object if your neighbor chose to exercise his right to control his private property and save money on proper disposal by burning old tires in his back yard when the wind was blowing towards your house? My guess is that you wouldn’t give a flip how Wall Street felt about it.

      This is Apple’s annual environmental report, so it focuses on environmental issues. Those issues impact everybody, including Apple and its various stakeholders. If Wall Street is too short-sighted to consider the long-term impacts of corporate strategies, that is their problem, not Apple’s.

  4. I miss Steve jobs. He didn’t give a shit about this. He didn’t care about corporate charitable giving. He didn’t care about any of the pansy initiatives many CEOs get involved with. He wanted to make the best products. This corporate pandering detracts from the product.

  5. This is a rather odd announcement to make, without any specifics as to why mining in general is bad. Sure, in specific cases you can cite conflict minerals and potential contamination by bringing hazardous rare earths to the surface. But to turn away from all mined minerals looks not only impractical, but just plain weird. It panders to certain elements on the Left. But to others it looks incoherent.

    1. Mining some of these minerals creates a lot of hazardous waste. That is why China is the primary source. The rare earth mines in the U.S. were shut down decades ago.

      If we restart these mines, then we need to ensure that they are operated in an environmentally responsible fashion. If you disagree with that, then you are the one who is incoherent.

      In addition, you need to consider that we have accessed much of the readily available minerals in the ground already. We grabbed the easy stuff first and then began digging deeper and deeper. That drives up costs. So recycling makes economic sense. In the longer term, Apple might be able to hold costs down by recapturing the critical materials in its products through aggressive recycling. Get a frigging clue.

      1. This is a rather odd announcement to make, without any specifics as to why mining in general is bad. Sure, in specific cases you can cite conflict minerals and potential contamination by bringing hazardous rare earths to the surface. But to turn away from all mined minerals looks not only impractical, but just plain weird. It panders to certain elements on the Left. But to others it looks incoherent.

        Mel, what’s with the get a clue line? I don’t disagree that many rare earths are hazardous and that Apple should stop using them or try to reuse. I don’t disagree that use of recycled materials is almost certainly a cost saver. And they should avoid the use of conflict minerals.

        What I thought was strange was the wholesale rejection of mining anything.

        I will disagree with you that we have explored everything. We have barely begun to tap resources below the surface.

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