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Apple «We will build iPhone 100% with recycled materials»

Apple launches an unprecedented new initiative: the goal is to completely stop the extraction of metals and other raw materials from the Earth and to build iPhones and other Apple products using 100% recycled materials. An unprecedented plan because so far no hi-tech company has gone so far and also because Cupertino by tradition never announces the upcoming news in advance, with very few exceptions.

"We are doing something we rarely do: announcing a goal even before we understand how to achieve it," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President Environmental Initiatives, interviewed by VICE News. "We are therefore a little nervous but we also think it is really important because as a sector we believe it is the direction where technology should go."

If Apple is able to do what it promised, the move has various benefits not only for the environment but also from the point of view of the political weight and image of the company. The attention of environmentalists and not only focused on Cupertino and other giants of the IT world, especially as regards the procurement of particular materials used in manufacturing. In 2010, Apple was one of the first companies to check the origin of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (the so-called conflict minerals) along all levels of the supply chain, going back from production to foundries.

Last year this mapping was completed by extending it also to cobalt: Apple has also included suppliers of this material from the Congo, used to build lithium-ion batteries, in external auditing programs. Cobalt is one of the rare minerals from conflict areas for which Apple is committed to determining the use in its products and investigate the origin, working with its supply chain and industrial groups to manufacture products that do not contain, finance or offer advantages to armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or in neighboring countries.

With this and other initiatives highlighted in the 2017 environmental report, Apple says it wants to involve the entire chain of suppliers, also hiring talents able to bring to the goal of producing devices created 100% in a sustainable way. Last year Apple removed 22 foundries from its supply chain and explains that it will continue to do the same with those who are unable to meet the requirements or do not intend to do so. In 2016, Apple mapped 100% of the supply chain of tin, tantalum, tungsten, gold and cobalt suppliers, and 100% of foundries / refineries participated in external audits.

Jackson spoke of Liam, a line of two robots capable of dismantling more than 2.4 million phones per year, explaining for example that the iPhone's Taptic Engine tungsten can be torn to pieces and used in tools for etching, while silver obtained by recycling the useful logic board in essential components of solar panels.

The 2017 Progress Report on supplier liability (a PDF document that can be downloaded from this address) offers a detailed overview of Apple's initiatives to ensure that products are made in compliance with rights and values ​​and in compliance with standards for responsible sourcing .

Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President Environmental Initiatives,Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President Environmental Initiatives,