Apple says 93 percent of its facilities around the world are now running on renewable energy and is introducing a number of recycling initiatives – including a robot called Liam that can deconstruct unused iPhones.
The company made a commitment to eventually run entirely on renewable sources of power two years ago and its data centres achieved that milestone in 2013. In some countries, including the US and China, it has already reached 100 percent.
A new solar farm is being built to power a new data centre in Nevada and the firm has also agreed green power deals for its operations in China. “We’re now 100 percent renewable in 23 countries around the world,” said Lisa Jackson, vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “Every time you send an iMessage, make a FaceTime video call or ask Siri a question, you can feel good about it.”
Apple’s environmental drive is now extending to its supply chain, with recyclable packaging. The company is moving towards all-paper packaging and is committed to sustainable forestry partnerships in North Carolina and China. “We believe paper, like energy, can be renewable,” added Jackson. “Our goal is to add to the world’s source of paper, not take away from it.”
Apple also wants to reduce electronic waste. An Apple Renew programme allows its customers to recycle their devices so they can be reused, but eventually these products will reach the end of their intended life. “We design our products to last,” she said. The same extends to components. Apple has built a robot called ‘Liam’ that can deconstruct iPhones so the materials inside can be repurposed. For example, silver in a motherboard can be used for a solar panel. “The things we learn from this project can help us make strides in area of reuse,” added Jackson.