Who is Lisa Jackson and why is she pushing for iPhones to be 100% recyclable?
Lisa Jackson is Apple’s head of environmental initiatives. Since Jackson joined in 2013, she has started initiatives toward sustainability, for example, Apple’s decision to use 100% clean energy and the dismantling Robot Daisy.
Advocacy groups have criticized the billion dollar company of bypassing efforts with regards to minimizing manufacturing waste. As a result, Jackson is pushing toward renewable energy and recycling.
Jackson knows that it is an ambitious plan but they are proud to say that Apple’s operations are now 100 percent renewable worldwide. In addition, the company is aiming to lessen the mining of new materials to make its products.
Electronic waste, like plastic pollution, has become a global issue. Discarded used gadgets like smartphones, old generation iPods, and laptops pose as an environmental risk. In addition, the resources needed to produce electronics produces waste.
In 2016, 44.7 million metric tons of electronic waste was generated worldwide, an equivalent to almost 5,000 Effiel towers.
In the year 2021, electronic waste is estimated to grow to 52.2 million metric tons globally. It is growing in such an alarming rate! Apple is one of the biggest company to produce e-waste.
Do you remember when Apple launched the iPod in the ’90s? The one where you had to download music from iTunes? To date, there are 25 iPod gens, from the Classic to Nano and Touch. Now that you can use your phone as an iPod, you don’t have to download a single thing from iTunes. But, where do you think all those 25 gens of iPod go?
Plus, every year since the birth of an iPhone, there’s always a newer one and people keep up with the trend. So, what happens to the old models if they don’t get recycled. They become electronic waste.
If the company’s aim is to use more recycled or renewable materials, they need to make their products last longer and they need to do a better job of recycling them.
Recycled iPhone Example
The iPhone XS uses recycled tin on the main logic board and speaker enclosure. According to Jackson, “This one change will prevent the mining of 10,000 tons of tin ore in a single year.” Apple is also using recycled or bio-based plastics. This eliminates the need to mine new materials to create new products.
Apple has recently opened a new materials recovery lab in Austin, Texas. A 133-acre campus that will accommodate up to 15,000 employees which are expected to make Apple the largest private employer in Austin. The Austin Texas campus will be dedicated to looking for innovative solutions to improve recycling methods.
Daisy is a recycling robot that disassembles 200 iPhones per hour. The first iPhone-dismantling machine in 2016 was Liam. Some of Daisy’s parts are from Liam.
Daisy can disassemble nine multiple versions of the iPhone.
On Earth Day 2019, Apple revealed a major expansion connected to its recycling program. On this day, Apple opened several locations in the United States where customers can bring in their iPhones for Daisy disassemble it. This was first introduced on Earth Day 2018.
What about durability?
According to Jackson, durability is still a top priority for Apple. “[Customers] expect Apple quality, and we certainly don’t want to disappoint them ever… So a lot of the decisions we have to make are around materials that we believe will increase durability.”
Apple is now globally using 100 percent renewable energy
With more renewable energy projects in development, Apple park is a LEED Platinum-certified office building that will use 100 percent renewable energy from a 17-megawatt solar installation and four megawatts of biogas fuel cells. It is controlled by a microgrid with batteries.
Apple plans to build a 400,000-square-foot data center in Waukee, Iowa. It will totally run on renewable energy. Resulting from a 200-megawatt power purchase for a wind farm in Prineville, Oregon, the Montague Wind Power Project will come online in 2019.
In Reno, Nevada, Apple signed a partnership with NV Energy and has developed a total of 320 megawatts of solar PV generation.
Undoubtedly, Apple, with the initiative of Lisa Jackson, is proof that we can definitely do something to make the world a better place.
Jackson is aware that Apple’s goal is ambitious, nevertheless, small efforts create a big impact. Clearly, they now have expanded more renewable projects and initiatives.
Soon enough people will be using an all-recycled iPhone.
Apple is by far the largest tech company in the world and they are leading by example. We hope that more tech companies follow their footsteps.