Apple’s website proudly claims to be carbon-neutral now and that by 2030, it will be every Apple product as well. The company has also touched on its progress in that direction with the iPhone 13 line and the Apple Watch Series 7. Read on to discover all the sustainability improvements that Apple has made with its latest products.
To optimize its offering in line with sustainability goals, Apple needs to optimize its product for natural resource consumption throughout its life cycle, not just during production. Apple claims that about 84 percent of the carbon emissions for the iPhone 13 are generated in the production phase.
The iPhone 13 mini generates 61 kg of carbon emissions over the lifetime of each device manufactured. For the iPhone 13 Pro Max, that number climbs to 74 kg per device produced.
What changes for Apple with the iPhone 13 Series and Apple Watch Series 7?
To reduce the environmental impact of the millions of iPhones sold each year, Apple has switched to using 100 percent recycled gold to set up a logic board on the iPhone 13 series, which is the first company. Solder joints consist of 100 percent recycled tin. Apple has switched to using 35 percent more recycled plastic in up to 15 components.
The Taptic Engine, as Apple likes to call its haptic feedback unit, also uses 100% recycled tungsten. Apple claims that only this one component uses 99 percent of the tungsten used in the iPhone 13 series. Magnets have the same treatment. They consist of 100 percent elements of a rare earth.
For the Apple Watch Series 7, Apple claims progress has also been made as it has a case made of fully recycled aluminum. Like the iPhone 13, the screen glass is claimed to be free of arsenic, PVC, mercury and beryllium.
Apple’s infographics, which were exposed for a few seconds during the launch of the iPhone and Apple Watch Series 7, highlighted the notable changes Apple has made to make the device more environmentally friendly.
What changes for the consumer?
Apple wants consumers to believe they are buying a more environmentally responsible device. Yes, Apple may have dug into supplier logistics and material procurement systems, but it could have optimized processes to be more sustainable.
Consumers are convinced that Apple is making progress in environmental sustainability. However, a brief look at Apple’s claims shows that there is nothing to brag about here. For example, mercury-free glass production has been the industry standard for years. In addition, the arsenic used to make the glass is completely consumed in the process and leaves no residue in the finished product.
Apple will argue that the number of devices it sells and recycles exponentially increases the impact of its efforts. However, people like Louis Rossmann pray for a difference.
Repairability and sustainability go hand in hand
It is publicly known that Apple’s line of iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watch lines are notoriously difficult to repair. It can be said that the components are incorrectly designed, and even that they are constructed so that they do not work. For example, from 2016 to 2018, the MacBook Pro was plagued by a screen problem that was later attributed to a strip of display cable that was too short for the job.
The cable would loosen after reversing the strain and fatigue from reopening and closing the laptop cover. This caused the screen to display vertical light and dark bars from the bottom cover. The issue became known as Flexgate, and a U.S. judge said at one point that Apple deliberately sold MacBooks with faulty screens because they were designed to come to repair inevitably.
In a few cases, the estimated repair costs are solid evidence for purchasing a new device. Apple will make sure to charge quite a penny to those who still repair the device.
Understandably, Apple’s design decisions that affect the repairability of its products point out that there is significant room for improvement. A product that must be regularly repaired for wear during regular use is the direct opposite of an environmentally friendly product.
We hope Apple makes products more repairable, designs them ethically and thoughtfully, for the environment, if not for us consumers. What do you think of Apple’s sustainability goals? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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