Apple products will use 100 percent recycled cobalt in batteries by 2025 to achieve 2030 green goals

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Apple recently announced that it would expand the use of recycled materials in its devices. The Cupertino-based tech giant has set a new target of using 100 percent recycled cobalt in all Apple-designed batteries by 2025.

Additionally, magnets in Apple devices will use entirely recycled rare earth elements, and all Apple-designed printed circuit boards will use 100 percent recycled tin soldering and 100 percent recycled gold plating by 2025.

Apple products will used 100 percent recycled cobalt by 2025

Apple commits to 100 percent Certified Recycled Cobalt

The move is part of Apple’s long-terms goals to make itself and its partners go carbon neutral by 2030. Cobalt is a key material used in batteries for most consumer electronics. A vast majority of smartphones use cobalt in their batteries due to the material’s high capacity and good electrochemical performance.

However, Apple recently revealed that it greatly expanded the use of 100 percent certified recycled cobalt over the past three years, which will allow the tech giant to incorporate it into all Apple-designed batteries by 2025. Apple-designed batteries found in iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook, and many other products represent a significant majority of the company’s use of cobalt.

Apple’s Carbon Neutral Goals

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO said, “Every day, Apple is innovating to make technology that enriches people’s lives, while protecting the planet we all share. From the recycled materials in our products, to the clean energy that powers our operations, our environmental work is integral to everything we make and to who we are.”

Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, said, “Our ambition to one day use 100 percent recycled and renewable materials in our products works hand in hand with Apple 2030: our goal to achieve carbon neutral products by 2030.” Additionally, magnets in Apple devices will also use 100 percent recycled rare earth elements by 2025.

As part of Apple’s green initiative, all Apple-designed printed circuit boards will use 100 percent certified recycled gold plating by 2025. The company will also use 100 percent certified recycled tin soldering on all Apple-designed printed rigid and flexible circuit boards.

Humanitarian cost of Cobalt

Despite its many green initiatives, Apple has been heavily criticised for the omission of a charging adapter with its latest iPhones. Moreover, cobalt is one of the most problematic minerals in the world. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is the largest supplier of cobalt in the world, although mass scale exploitation is present in the mineral’s extraction. Men, women, and at times, even children, work tirelessly sourcing the material for as low as a dollar or two a day.

These workers often mine cobalt without proper safety equipment and for long hours of day. However, Apple didn’t leave out human rights from its release as the company noted that in the transition to recycled and renewable content, Apple has prioritised 14 materials based on environment, human rights, and supply impact that together account for nearly 90 percent of the material shipped in Apple products.

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published: Friday, April 14, 2023, 14:38 [IST]

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