In April, Apple announced plans to design only eco-friendly batteries containing recycled components by 2025.
According to Engadget, Apple used 25% recycled cobalt in 2022. By 2025, it plans to use 100% recycled cobalt. It has also promised to use 100% recycled rare earth elements and use recycled gold and tin in its circuit boards.
The promise would apply to all products featuring Apple-designed batteries, Engadget says. That includes iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks.
The new announcement is in line with Apple’s stated goals for more eco-friendly long-term changes, Engadget reports. The company has announced that by 2030, it intends to use only recycled materials in its products or manufacture them through operations that do not, in total, increase climate-heating carbon pollution. Last year, only 20% of its materials met those criteria.
Cobalt mining has been controversial lately due to concerns about worker exploitation and pollution, Engadget reports. Some companies have been working on cobalt-free EV batteries to avoid the problem.
But most rechargeable battery technology still relies on cobalt, and the most ethical, least polluting option is to recycle existing batteries. According to some industry experts, battery recycling is the future.
Commenters on Reddit were skeptical about Apple’s announcement.
“Next step, make repairable devices!” one user said, referring to Apple’s longstanding practice of making devices difficult to repair without proprietary tools.
“[I’ll] believe it when I see it,” another Redditor added. “Apple makes huge environmental promises about twice a year but has yet to deliver on any of them. Instead, we get more customer hostility.”
A third user agreed, saying, “We’ll see when it happens. Saying is one thing, doing is another thing.”
In its reporting, Engadget acknowledged that the move might be partly about Apple’s image and promoting sales than actually making its products eco-friendly. Still, if Apple follows through, it could still be a win for future buyers and for the planet.
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