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Apple launches Environmental Responsibility Report 2017, says it will stop mining the earth for materials

Apple plans to switch to recycled materials across all of its products, it’s been announced. In the company’s own 2017 Environment Responsibility Report, a new initiative has been unveiled detailing the company’s plans to “stop mining the earth.”

Apple cites the undeniability of climate change and the irresponsibility of using finite resources in its cyclical products.

So, how does Apple plan to phase out non-recyclable materials? Well, it’s not entirely sure yet.

In an interview with Vice, Apple’s VP of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson said:

“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it. So we’re a little nervous, but we also think it’s really important, because as a sector we believe it’s where technology should be going.”

The report also notes:

“It sounds crazy, but we’re working on it. We’re moving toward a closed-loop supply chain. One day we’d like to be able to build new products with just recycled materials, including your old products.”

To make devices entirely out of recycled materials Apple will have to use materials like aluminum, copper, and tungsten. But transferring that across multiple product lines and at a volume that matches Apple’s output is likely to cause numerous headaches.

Though Jackson did note that it hopes Apple will eventually be able to make new products using materials recycled from devices returned to Apple by purchasers when they upgrade to new models.

It’s a big move from Apple, especially following some high profile criticisms of its processes, including investigations that claimed Apple was using a battery supplier that used cobalt mined by child labor.

Read more about the 2017 Environment Responsibility Report on Apple’s website.

Watch the video below for more on Vice News’ coverage of the report: