The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission
The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission
8:45

The Missing Piece to Apple's Eco-Friendly Mission

Phones
Speaker 1: It's nice to hear about all the work Apple is doing to make its products more sustainable. Everyone says they're planting trees, but there's conflict at the core of this topic. Apple grows by having us buy shiny new things, and our cycle of consumption will always put a strain on the planet. Yes, apple is making big steps to reduce its impact on the environment. It vows that by next year, plastic will vanish from all packaging and after six years all of its products will be carbon neutral. Plus, there's all of this [00:00:30] recycling work Apple does to reuse materials from older devices. It's an example for other companies to follow, but is the answer to healing our planet more about making products out of different materials that may not hold up as long? Or is it better to just help customers keep their devices around for longer? Speaker 1: According to a recent UN report, e-waste is on the rise across the world. Gadgets are being thrown into landfills five times faster than they are recycled, and we have seen it commissioned our own survey to get an idea of what you all [00:01:00] are doing with old gadgets. And 75% of folks said they had no plan for what to do with their devices. Just a bunch of us with dead devices in our drawers. What are we doing? I wanted to spend this weekly Apple video poking out. One more thing in the sustainability struggle. Let's have some real talk about the push to always upgrade the way some products are changing and how to keep our devices alive longer. I'm Bridget Carey, and this is one more thing. Around this time, you hear a lot of chatter [00:01:30] about Earth Day planting trees, doing your part, all that jazz. Speaker 1: I've had a lifetime of this messaging. I'm a millennial who grew up with Captain Planet. I got the planets here ring to prove it. Generations of consumers really do care to do their part, but also were jaded with news stories saying that recycling our plastic containers has been somewhat pointless. Our CNET survey said both millennials and Gen Z are willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly version of an electronic or accessory. We've [00:02:00] seen Apple answer that call with the first carbon neutral Apple watch. It's any aluminum Apple Watch series nine or SE when paired with the new sport loop strap that's made of recycled materials. And here comes my struggle. I like what Apple is doing here, but the Sport loop band as the best eco-friendly option was disappointing. It gets soggy so easily like when I'm going to wash a dish, so I'm always taking this off and it didn't take long for it to start looking dingy. [00:02:30] It doesn't have a premium feel and yet costs the same as other bands. I felt the same about the fine woven iPhone case, which Apple created to phase out leather. Now the fine woven material is made of 68% recycled content. It's also more expensive than other Apple iPhone cases, but it doesn't look premium and it didn't feel premium. It has this odd slickness on my fingers. I don't like it. These make me want to toss out the earth-friendly products to buy big, old average Speaker 2: Plastic versions, [00:03:00] but there's hope Apple will keep giving us more options. Like this Apple Watch band from Nike. It has a flaked look and that's the recycled material. It holds up better than the fabric ones, and I'd like to see Apple lean more in a direction that we're seeing from outside companies. Here's App Pate case that's compostable. It's made up of various bioplastics and plant material. It breaks down in under six months. When it's tossed out, it feels nice to use. Looks good, it has a nice soft rubbery [00:03:30] feel. The case is $50 and if you want it to have mag safe, you got to pay for a separate magnet insert. That's another $12. The case does also come with this sleeve to send your older case back to be recycled. Now on the cheaper side, there's another plant-based case you can find on Amazon. Speaker 2: The brand is in be, I think I'm saying it right, it's about $19 and once you toss it, it says it takes three years to break down even if a case can't compost. [00:04:00] I am seeing more pitches for iPhone cases that are just trying to be more eco-friendly in the materials the company uses. Adam Studios sent me this split silicone case. I have been liking it a lot for how it feels, how it holds up, and it is $60. Apple stopped including Chargers and iPhone boxes in 2020. With the release of the iPhone 12. Apple made a big deal about how it's better for the environment, and then customers probably just ordered one online from an Amazon driver to spend the gas to get [00:04:30] a charger cube right to their front door, one of those big plastic sleeves. But these kinds of product ships are happening all over, changing the device or what's offered in the name of helping the planet. Speaker 2: Check out these skull candy eco buds. These are made with 65% recycled plastics. That's cool, but it's missing something. This dock that holds the buds, it doesn't have its own battery. It's not going to recharge the buds. Just when you pop 'em in, you actually have to plug the whole thing into something to recharge. [00:05:00] It costs about $40 and for $20 less, you can get a version that does charge your buds in the case. Yeah, it's still not easy being green. Apple says it is doing more to change its products to become carbon neutral through a combination of actions and recycling is a big part of that. You may be familiar with Apple's Daisy Robot. It's designed to take apart iPhones to recover materials inside and use them in future devices. But the heart of the problem is [00:05:30] also that the company's still making a new iPhone every year, and sometimes Apple products get updated in under a year. The 16 inch MacBook Pro with the M two chip was updated with the M three chip in the same year. It's an environmental drain to keep mining for products and producing all of this year after year. Apple could just wait longer between releases, have the tech upgrade leap be more substantial, which also would get customers Speaker 3: Excited. But no, that's not happening. There is some [00:06:00] progress now at least on how to keep an iPhone alive longer through cheaper repairs of used parts. Apple just announced that in the fall it will let customers repair an iPhone with used parts and to deter thieves from just stealing iPhones to sell them for parts. The whole repair thing is also hooked into the activation lock program, but unfortunately it's not going to work for older iPhones. The used parts repair is just for the iPhone 15 lineup. Sometimes you may feel the need to get a new phone when [00:06:30] the battery doesn't hold the charge the way it used to, but you could just replace the battery and make it feel new again. It's better for the environment and better for your wallet instead of buying a whole new phone. If you want to go the do it yourself route, the repair site I Fixit has parts and toolkits for devices. Speaker 3: Now, when my colleague Andrew Langston did this for his iPhone six, it took him a little over an hour to replace his battery, but the cost and the time might make it better for iPhone owners to take it to an Apple store so they can do it. If you suspect it's time to [00:07:00] get a new battery, check the battery health in your settings, go to battery and then go to battery health. It shows you how much of a charge it can hold. There's also an iPhone setting to help keep your battery alive longer, make sure you have optimized battery charging turned on so that you put less stress on the battery in how it charges. It's hard to see how your individual action matters when companies themselves are the problem. Research shows 80% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions are coming [00:07:30] from just 57 companies, so of course, it is nice to see Apple take action and make it easy to recycle devices. Speaker 3: Back in January at CES, we saw many other big tech companies like Lenovo, lg, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony. They all signed a pledge for making an impact on climate change, and Google also laid out plans for doing more toward the right to repair movement. It is all a good step forward, but I'm still waiting to see what new eco-friendly products and accessories we might get in [00:08:00] the future from Apple, perhaps cases that can actually be composted and more choices that look like that Nike Sport Watch band. I don't think folks mind paint a little more to have a product that doesn't contribute to more trash in the world, but they need to actually last long enough to be worth getting because you don't want to buy recycled trash if it just makes me buy more trash later. What's your take on recycled materials and the ways that you're seeing products change to be more eco-friendly? Would you buy one of those cases that you can compost and what are you doing with your old tech? [00:08:30] Have you just replaced a battery or bought a whole new iPhone? As for me, I'm going to be giving my battery a recharge. I will be out next week with Lexi. Tis filling in for the show, so keep the comments coming and I'll read them when I get back. Thanks for watching.

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