Apple 'Renews' its environmental push

To hype its Renew recycling program, the tech giant boasts that most of its facilities are run on renewable energy and introduces a robot that takes apart iPhones.

Terry Collins Staff Reporter, CNET News
Terry writes about social networking giants and legal issues in Silicon Valley for CNET News. He joined CNET News from the Associated Press, where he spent the six years covering major breaking news in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before the AP, Terry worked at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis and the Kansas City Star. Terry's a native of Chicago.
Terry Collins
2 min read
Watch this: Apple reveals recycling robot

Apple is ramping up its environmental push, including the creation of a robot that disassembles your old iPhone for easier reuse.

Two years ago, the tech giant said it wanted to be 100 percent energy-renewable in its worldwide operations. Currently, 93 percent of its facilities run on renewable energy, said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives. Jackson, who headed up the Environmental Protection Agency from 2009 to 2013, spoke Monday at the start of a product event at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, California.


Apple's Lisa Jackson highlights the company's environmental achievements at an event Monday.

Screenshot by CNET

To get to this point, Jackson said the company built a 40-megawatt solar farm in China and built solar arrays in Singapore.

"Just like everything we do at Apple, when we think about the environment, we think about innovation," Jackson said, ultimately plugging Apple Renew, a program where you can recycle devices for free in store or via the mail. "We want to change the world for the better. We think there's no better challenge in the world than our changing climate."

"We put an incredible amount of money into designing the best products in the world," she added. We "put that same amount of energy into thinking about what to do when they can no longer be used."

Jackson also introduced a robot named "Liam" who deconstructs old iPhones so parts can be repurposed. The company showed a short video of Liam taking apart an iPhone, from its display to the camera. The robot helps Apple separate silver, gold and platinum materials to either be recycled or discarded. Apple touts that Liam "can take apart 1.2 million iPhones a year."

"There's no other machine in the world that can do what Liam can do," Jackson said. It "will help us make even bigger strides in the area of reuse and recycling."

Jackson also said that 99 percent of the company's packaging comes from paper that is recycled or from sustainably managed forests.

All this "means every time you send an iMessage or make a FaceTime video call or ask Siri a question, you can feel really good about reducing your impact on the environment," she said.

See all of the news from Apple's March 21 event.