On April 22nd, coinciding with Earth Day, Apple rolled out an environmental responsibility page on its website. The page is a comprehensive guide to the many environmental initiatives the company is taking to minimize carbon emissions and other harmful impacts on the environment. Apple has been criticized in the past for its electronic waste, but CEO Tim Cook says that Apple is aiming to “leave the world better than we found it.”
One of the major initiatives is Apple’s new recycling policy: Apple stores will now recycle any device free of charge, no matter its condition. They will also offer store credit (in the form of Apple gift cards) for devices in decent condition. Previously, Apple only accepted old iPhones and iPads, but this new initiative is much more comprehensive.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of environmental initiatives (and former EPA administrator) is spearheading a number of other efforts to reduce the company’s environmental impact. At the moment, 94% of Apple stores run on renewable energy sources such as biogas, hydro, solar, and wind power. Four data centers, located in California, Nevada, Oregon, and North Carolina, rely solely on renewable energy sources. Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino will rely exclusively on renewable energy as well, and the company hopes that the same will go for all of their stores, data centers, and offices at some point in the future.
The company is also limiting the number of toxic chemicals used in their products in an effort to keep consumers, Apple employees, and the environment safe. Apple’s new web page explains that:
Many substances commonly used in the electronics industry can be harmful to people or the planet. So we design our products with cleaner, safer materials to reduce and eliminate these toxins. And we hold our suppliers accountable — we conduct factory audits, test components with independent laboratories, and verify the results in a lab we built at our headquarters in Cupertino. It’s our mission to make sure anyone who assembles, uses, and recycles an Apple product can do so safely.
Furthermore, it seems that Apple’s efforts at cleaning up their act are legitimate, and not merely greenwashing. In a recent report, Greenpeace applauds Apple’s environmental stewardship, claiming that they are “the most innovative and most aggressive in pursuing its commitment to be 100 percent renewably powered.”
So, cheers to Apple! Thoughts? Let us know in the comments section!