Apple pledges to make all iPhones from recycled materials

An ambitious promise, but the details are few and far between

Apple pledges to make all iPhones from recycled materials

File photo of a map of Ireland beside the Apple logo | Image: Niall Carson PA Wire/PA Images

Apple is one of the biggest brands in the world. Their simple logo is instantly recognisable and their phones are adored by millions. While they continue to dominate in the tech space, they have also shown their commitment to being eco-friendly in their 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report

The report outlines the goals Apple has set for itself to reduce its impact on climate change. The work is led by Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. Jackson reports directly to company CEO Tim Cook. 

The key priorities for the company in this regard are as follows: 

  • Reduce their impact on climate change by using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in their products and facilities
  • Conserve precious resources so we all can thrive
  • Pioneer the use of safer materials in their products and processes

The report is almost sixty pages long and details the ambitious plans the company has. This includes making all of it's products entirely from renewable or recycled materials. They also aim to stop mining the earth for anything. 

The impact this would have should not be underestimated, however, Apple conceded they have yet to work out the details for doing so. 

“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s head of environmental policy, in an interview with Vice News.
The company is calling for customers to recycle their old iPhones through the company's programme or through its 'Liam' recycling robots. These robots can pick apart phones to harvest reusable parts. 

"We’ve melted down iPhone 6 aluminum enclosures recovered from Liam to make Mac mini computers for use in our factories, and we’re transitioning to 100 percent recycled tin solder on the main logic board of iPhone 6s," details the report.

The company outlines in the report how it conserves water, plants trees and uses recycling materials in its packaging.


Over 99% of the paper used in Apple's packaging and in their corporate offices was from either sustainably managed forests or controlled wood or recycled sources.