Pinterest: Apple’s E-waste #COMM2F00

Pinterest Board:

Apple’s E-waste

This board is a gathering of information on Apple and their green initiative. Looking to find the truth about Apple products and their contribution to e-waste. It will consider both the use of Apple’s electronic devices as well as the components of the device. This is a collection of different Apple products and their environmental impacts. As consumers we must have an understanding of the impacts the products we use are making and know what we can do to improve those impacts.


Apple Offers Free Recycling of its Products Worldwide.

Apple is offering recycling of their products as well as some third-party products like mobile phones and PCs. Apple retail stores take back Apple products for “free, responsible recycling.” The company has left it up to each individual store to determine if products are reusable, and gift cards can be exchanged for the device. Apple is also offering the recycling of batteries. Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives recognizes that Apple must be accountable for every Apple product at every stage of its use.

Why Apple is Not so Green

Although Apple has given consumers an option to recycle their Apple products through their recycling program, the products are not 100 percent recyclable. For example copper extracted from the iPhone is usually a loss and the glass touch screen cannot be recycled at all because of the indium it contains. Apple continues to come out with new generations and different designs this makes it difficult for consumers to upgrade their phones without getting the new device. To make things worse they make repairs virtually impossible, often resulting in having to replace the device.

How Green is the iPhone?

Each iPhone causes 45Kg of C02 in its lifetime. This includes production, consumer use, transportation and recycling. To have a better understanding of how much energy the iPhone uses, if every iPhone sold in 2010 were charged once it would take the same amount of energy to run a light bulb for over357 years. When the iPhone 4 was introduced C02 emissions per iPhone increased by 22 percent over the iPhone 3G. Although Apple has made a recycling program available, less than 10 percent of phones are actually recycled while the rest ended up in landfills.

How Green is the iPad.

The body of the iPad is recyclable however the touch screen display is not. Also it only uses 2.5 watts of power to run, one fifth of the power required to run a fluorescent bulb. Each iPad creates 180kg C02 emissions in its lifetime. This is contributed through production, consumer use, transportation, and recycling. The iPad’s C02 emissions vary by generation however the newest iPad has the highest emission rate. The large idatacenters that run iTunes and iCloud use up enough energy in one year to power 80,000 homes. Apple plans to build a solar facility to power their idatacenter.

The Sustainability of Tablets

As tablets are becoming more and more popular is it important to understand the impact they are making whether that is a positive or negative impact. While the production of iPads gives off higher C02 emissions than printing, it uses significantly less water than printing books does. As well, IPad users have decreased their printing habits by almost 50 percent. A iPad’s C02 emissions based on production is slightly more than an iPhone but less than a laptop and a 60 watt light bulb.

Apple is Creating an E-waste Problem

One way that Apple has created a large amount of e-waste is with the change of their products charger port. When the iPhone 5 was released Apple also introduced a new charger with its new products. This has caused old product accessories to become obsolete. For example a radio docking station produced for the original port is not compatible with the new products. While there is converters to allow some devices to continue to be used this is another piece of hardware that must be purchased. This also increases e-waste of older models as they have now dropped in value.

How Clean is Apple: Where does the e-waste go?

Apple has a policy in place that states no waste from Apple’s US recycling program is shipped outside of North America. Many companies that recycle e-waste do however ship their waste over seas. Basel Action Network (BAN) is trying to have technology companies sign a manufacturer’s commitment to promise that they will not export hazardous e-waste to developing nations, directly or through other recyclers. The interesting thing about this is that Apple will not sign this commitment, even thought they have a policy not to ship e-waste over seas already.

Keeping a Green Apple

In 2007 Greenpeace confronted Apple about improving their devices “green” qualities. Each year 100 million phones are contributed to e-waste worldwide. The iPhone contained hazardous chemicals including beryllium, lead, arsenic, mercury. After a redesign the iPhone is now free of harmful chemicals. We as consumers can also take steps to be a green Apple user. These include: never throwing away your iPhone, charge your phone less frequently, don’t throw away a broken screen, upgrade your phone, and sell or recycle your phone.


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