Apple Ramps Up Work to Help the Environment. But Here's the Change I Want to See as a Customer

Commentary: Apple brings innovation to its ambitious environmental initiatives. Can it spare some innovation for better "green" accessories?

Bridget Carey Principal Video Producer
Bridget Carey is an award-winning reporter who helps you level-up your life -- while having a good time geeking out. Her exclusive CNET videos get you behind the scenes as she covers new trends, experiences and quirky gadgets. Her weekly video show, "One More Thing," explores what's new in the world of Apple and what's to come. She started as a reporter at The Miami Herald with syndicated newspaper columns for product reviews and social media advice. Now she's a mom who also stays on top of toy industry trends and robots. (Kids love robots.)
Expertise Consumer technology | Apple | Google | Samsung | Microsoft | Amazon | Meta | Social media | Mobile | Robots | Future tech | Immersive technology | Toys | Culture Credentials
  • Bridget has spent over 18 years as a consumer tech reporter, hosting daily tech news shows and writing syndicated newspaper columns. She's often a guest on national radio and television stations, including ABC, CBS, CNBC and NBC.
Bridget Carey
2 min read
A robotic arm holding an iPhone above a conveyor belt

Apple says its Daisy robot has helped the company extract thousands of pounds of cobalt from batteries. 


Apple is making impressive advancements to make its products more sustainable and become carbon neutral by 2030. This week alone, Apple announced increased investment in clean energy and water suppliers. And the company cut its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 55% since 2015. 

Apple has a number of environmental wins to boast as we approach Earth Day. But when we talk about sustainability and Apple -- the largest manufacturing company by revenue -- there's a conflict at the core of this topic. Apple grows by having us buy shiny new things. Even when Apple incorporates recycled materials, resources must be drained to keep producing new products. 

Watch this: The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission

It's made me want to look more into buying products that are made with eco-friendly materials. Last year, Apple came out with an Apple Watch Sport Loop, a fabric band made of recycled materials. And there's the FineWoven iPhone case, also made with recycled materials. But both left me feeling pretty unimpressed and looking into alternatives.

In this week's episode of One More Thing (embedded above), I poke at the sustainability struggle for consumers. A recent CNET survey found Millennial and Gen Z consumers were more willing to pay a higher price to own an environmentally friendly version of an electronic or accessory. Can Apple rethink the recycled materials it uses in accessories to give us products that we don't want to toss back into the trash? (Or at least, make them compostable.)

That same CNET data also revealed that 75% of folks surveyed didn't have a plan for what to do with their old tech. Are we all just letting old iPhones collect dust on shelves? In the video I go over some tips for keeping your device alive for longer — and eventually you might be able to repair it with used iPhone parts

Apple won't stop making a new iPhone every year. But if we get smarter about repairs and battery health, we don't have to be as tempted by the yearly upgrade.