Apple, which already powers 96 percent of its facilities with renewable energy, has a new environmental goal: to one day build all its gadgets using only recycled materials.
The Cupertino tech giant in its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report, released today, said it aims to have a “closed-loop” supply chain, “where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled material.”
“Traditional supply chains are linear,” Apple explained. “Materials are mined, manufactured as products, and often end up in landfills after use.” Apple wants to change that, and instead break down old gadgets and use the scrap to build new products.
“We’re also challenging ourselves to one day end our reliance on mining altogether,” Apple wrote.
Those are lofty goals, which Apple admittedly isn’t 100 percent sure how to accomplish.
“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Apple’s Vice President of environment, policy, and social initiatives, Lisa Jackson, told VICE News. “So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.”
Apple’s goal will “require many years of collaboration across multiple Apple teams, our suppliers, and specialty recyclers,” the report says. To start, Cupertino is encouraging customers to recycle their old devices through its Renew program, which lets you trade in your old Apple devices to be refurbished for resale or recycled.
Apple also touted the its disassembling robot Liam, which it introduced last year. Liam “can quickly disassemble iPhone 6, sorting its high-quality components with the goal of reducing the need to mine more resources from the earth,” Apple says.
Apple has already been melting down the aluminum enclosures Liam recovered from iPhone 6, and reused the material to create Mac mini computers the company uses internally. “We wanted to show it was possible to use our own scrap to build new products,” Apple wrote. “Now we’re looking for opportunities to expand this pilot.”