Are Apple Recycle Programs Making An Impact?

Are Apple Recycle Programs Making An Impact?

Every year we see a new iPhone launch. The biggest impact can be seen in the United States, where almost everyone tries to get the newest model as soon as it comes out. Since the company is worth trillions, this means that they’re selling a lot of devices. 

For 2021, estimators agree that there were more than 85 million devices that his company sold. However, there have been a lot more devices sold over the last decade, probably more than a billion. A billion phones take up a lot of space, and they take up a lot of resources. Visit this link to read more. 

There’s a battery in each device, as well as a few precious metals that go unrecycled. At least until now. Apple has now created a program where they’re disassembling their old devices and giving you a discount on their newer ones. That’s a step forward in the right direction.  

What does the future look like if nothing changes? 

Phone sales in the last year crossed 450 billion dollars. Additionally, they’re increasing year by year, seeing that each device gets outdated in two years or less. A lot of people can agree that most of the devices that were produced up until now, as well as the ones that will be created, will be obsolete in ten years. 

That timeframe can be shortened since quantum computing is going to create a revolution, but a decade is more than enough. After ten years, every tech company needs to deal with its own waste. This means the processing of all of their models, breaking the devices down, and then recycling them to be reused again. 

Whenever there’s a new Apple event, they’re talking about the environment and green initiatives, but they still haven’t released solid information on how efficiently they’re dealing with the waste. You can go to to read more. Of course, they’ve created a robot that can disassemble a phone in 11 seconds, but how many people are using it, and is their return and buy program actually working. 

Now, more than 4 billion people are connected to the internet on a daily basis. Since 75 percent of users are using mobile, that means that there are currently 3 billion phones in circulation. If everyone switches to a new device every two years, this leads us to 1.5 billion electronic devices each year. Since a billion of pretty much anything is a lot, here’s an idea of how big that pile is going to be. 

Piling all those phones is going to weigh more than two aircraft carriers, which is close to 250 000 tons. Just the weight of it all can give you chills, not to mention the environmental impact. There have been plenty of cases where people have incorrectly disposed of their devices and started fires.  

Furthermore, to create a single device, there needs to be software development, distribution, manufacturing, and mining the materials. We have a responsibility when it comes to dealing with e-waste too, so it’s not wise to point fingers. Even though we’re not feeling the effects immediately, the consequences of tomorrow always hit harder. However, Apple is trying to make a difference, and they’re setting an example for other companies. 

What is Apple doing to help reduce e-waste? 

The company itself is definitely benefitting from increased sales and profit margins. However, they’re planning to take on even more responsibility in the following years. First of all, they’re switching to renewable energy instead of relying on fossil fuels. That’s a massive win for them. Additionally, they’ve made newer devices to be easier to recycle. 

At the moment, they’re doing an amazing job when it comes to designing and creating new phones, but they also need to become better at unmaking them. That’s where their robots come in. You can now go into a store and trade in your old phone for a discount on a newer one. That way, they’re incentivizing individuals to dispose of e-waste in the correct locations. 

Then, those parts can be reused again to create something else, which will eventually lead to a circular economy. However, there’s another thing that they can do. They can make devices last longer. If we held on to each device for 5 years instead of the usual two, that takes a lot of pressure away from the company. Even though there are massive profit incentives, the environment should always be more important. What’s good about a new iPhone if the world is burning up? 

Finally, changes in the product design are essential if current technology is used to recycle the gadgets. Designing a phone with the intention of recycling it a couple of years later is different from designing it just to look good and to sell it for profit. Newer designs might render the current machines to be outdated in a decade. That mustn’t happen, and recyclability needs to be included in the initial phase of designing.  

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