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With Earth Day fast approaching this coming Monday, Apple has been emphasizing its focus on the various environmental initiatives it’s working on, last week announcing new supplier commitments to clean energy, the expansion of its global recycling programs, and releasing its annual 2019 Environmental Responsibility Report.
In addition, however, Apple also held an event today at its Apple Park headquarters with Will Smith, his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, and their son, Jaden Smith to talk about Just Water, an organization co-founded by Jaden Smith with the goal of providing clean water supplies to areas in need.
The discussion was hosted by Lisa Jackson, Apple’s VP vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, and open to Apple employees. A tweet by Apple CEO Tim Cook highlighted the event with the tagline that “everyone deserves access to quality water.”
Just Water sells ethically sourced spring water in environmentally friendly bottles made from paper with caps made from sugarcane, not only providing clean water supplies, but reducing the environmental impact of typical plastic bottles.
Last week, Apple also announced that the number of its suppliers that have committed to using 100% clean energy has nearly doubled over the past year, bringing the total number to 44, and that it expects to be able to bring at least 4 gigawatts of renewable energy into its supply chain by 2020. Last year, Apple also finished moving all of its own global facilities to 100% renewable energy. This also resulted in a net overall reduction in the company’s carbon footprint, as Apple and its suppliers generated an amount of clean energy that could be used to power over 600,000 U.S. homes.
Apple also announced a major expansion of its recycling programs, adding a number of new locations for U.S. customers to send old iPhones to be disassembled and recycled, with numerous Best Buy stores in the U.S. now participating, along with KPN retailers in the Netherlands. Apple notes that it has now received nearly 1 million devices through its recycling programs, and each of its “Daisy” recycling robots can disassemble 1.2 million devices per year. In 2018, this amounted to more than 7.8 million Apple devices, or 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.
Apple says Daisy is now capable of disassembling 15 different iPhone models at a rate of about 200 per hour, with recovered materials recycled back into the manufacturing process. Cobalt and the batteries removed by Daisy are also now being sent upstream in Apple’s supply chain to be used to make brand-new Apple batteries and create a closed-loop system. Apple also now uses 100 percent recycled tin in its main logic boards, and 100 percent recycled aluminum to engineer an aluminum alloy for its new MacBook Air and Mac mini, and starting this year is taking aluminum recovered from the Apple Trade In program and remelting it into enclosures for the MacBook Air.
On the more consumer-focused side, Apple is also planning to celebrate Earth Day on Monday with a series of environmentally-themed Today at Apple sessions at all of its Apple retail stores, as well as featuring appropriate collections of apps and games on the App Store, and offering an Apple Watch Earth Day Challenge to provide a special award and stickers for users who get out and get active on Earth Day.