Apple looks to end mining in supply chain

Apple Liam robot iPhone disassembly

Apple has announced new recycling initiatives in time for today's Earth Day celebrations. The company's latest goals were revealed as part of its 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report, covering fiscal year 2016. Apple plans to implement a completely closed-loop supply chain, which means it would no longer need to use materials acquired through mining operations.

Currently the manufacturing of electronics, including iPhones, iPads and other devices, use rare minerals and metals that are mined from the ground. Closing the loop would mean collecting discarded Apple devices and other electronics to recover the metals inside. These materials would then be combined with recycled metals from other sources and used to manufacture new iPhones, avoiding the use of freshly mined materials altogether.

Apple Closed Loop electronics recycling

Apple already collects used devices through its Apple Renew program. However, putting an end to mining in its supply chain will take much more time and effort. The company showed off its iPhone-recycling robot, Liam around this time last year. The contraption is capable of disassembling an iPhone into its component parts every 11 seconds.

As usual, Apple has displayed custom signage at its retail stores to celebrate Earth Day. The changes include coloring the leaf on top of the Apple logo green. The company has launched a related promotion, which will donate $1 to the World Wildlife Fund every time an Apple Store purchase is made with Apple Pay. The event runs from April 20 until April 28. Last year's promotion "Apps for Earth" raised $8 million for the same charity.

Apple has also produced several videos to explain its ongoing environmental efforts such as zero waste and solar farms. For more details see Apple's official Environment page.