Over the past decade, Apple designers and engineers have continued to pioneer new ways to build our products with less material. Manufacturing innovations such as unibody construction have allowed products like iPad, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air to become thinner while being even more resilient. Today’s Mac Pro uses 74 percent less aluminum and steel than the previous design. And the newest iMac is made with 68 percent less material than the first iMac.
Smaller and lighter products are easier on the environment, but sometimes the environment isn’t easy on them. So we design everything from our largest displays to our smallest cables to be durable and long-lasting. And to make sure they are, we test them in our Reliability Testing Lab at our headquarters in Cupertino.
You don’t have to buy a new Apple product to have one that feels new. We make it easy to update to new versions of apps, software, and entire operating systems — OS X Mavericks works on Mac computers made as far back as 2007 — so you’ll have a new experience without buying a new device.
Our built‑in notebook batteries last up to five years. Which saves on buying new batteries, produces less waste, and increases the lifespan of your notebook.
And when Apple product owners pass along their devices to friends or family, they’re conserving resources, too. Sometimes the mark of a great product isn’t how many you sell, but how much it’s used.
If not recycled properly, electronic waste can be a serious health and environmental issue. It’s often dumped in countries where dangerous recovery techniques leach toxins from electronics that can affect people and the environment. That’s why we’re committed to helping people recycle responsibly. Every Apple Retail Store in the world will take back Apple products for free, responsible recycling. We’ve also set up recycling programs in cities and college campuses in 95 percent of the countries where our products are sold, diverting more than 421 million pounds of equipment from landfills since 1994. In regions where we don’t have take‑back programs with physical drop‑off/pickup locations, we arrange for pickup, transport, and environmentally sound recycling of electronics. And it’s not just Apple products that we recycle at these events. In fact, over 90 percent of the products we collect and recycle are not our own.
In 2010, we set out to achieve a worldwide recycling collection rate of 70 percent of the total weight of the products we sold seven years earlier. Since then, we have consistently reached 85 percent, while others in the industry reported numbers lower than 20 percent. But our larger goal is to identify new recycling technologies that can help us recover additional materials and increase resource efficiency. That’s one reason we’ve joined with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It’s a like‑minded group working to establish a more circular economy, in which material is transformed instead of wasted.
Learn more about our recycling programs
Water is the world’s most precious resource. At our own facilities, as well as those of our suppliers, we continue to look for ways to reduce water consumption during manufacturing, cooling, landscaping, and sanitation.
Our Maiden, North Carolina, data center employs an innovative cooling system that reuses water 35 times, resulting in a 20 percent reduction in overall water consumption.
At our facilities that receive less dependable rainfall, we’ve installed sophisticated irrigation systems that monitor local weather conditions and soil moisture, which led to a 40 percent reduction in landscape watering. At some facilities, we’ve achieved further reductions thanks to drought‑tolerant landscaping and drip irrigation.
In 2013, we made a number of water improvements at our Cupertino headquarters. We converted over six acres of landscaping to climate‑adapted, drought‑tolerant plants and retrofitted the irrigation system to optimize water savings. We replaced over 32,000 square feet of turf with drought‑tolerant plants, which is expected to save over 3 million gallons of water each year. And we recycled 4214 cubic yards of landscape mulch to use onsite, which increases soil moisture and reduces overall water demand.
To make sure our suppliers are part of our water conservation efforts, we’ve established the Clean Water Program. This initiative helps reduce water use, promote water recycling and reuse, and prevent illegal water pollution within our supply chain.
Learn more about our Clean Water Program