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Apple encourages users to recycle devices ahead of Earth Day

Apple is promoting its free recycling program with a new video that showcases its robots’ ability to recover recyclable materials from 23 models of iPhone.

With Earth Day on April 22, this is typically the time of year Apple reminds us of its various environmental efforts. Materials these robots extract from old devices can be used in the next generation of tech, and Apple has pledged to use a great many recycled elements in new iPhones from 2025. This contributes to the ongoing Apple 2030 project, which aims to make the company’s “entire value chain” carbon neutral by the end of the decade.

Meet the robots

You’d better believe these robots have names. Apple says: “Our custom recycling robot Daisy can disassemble 23 different iPhone models to recover crucial materials like gold and rare earth elements. Robot Dave extracts tungsten from Taptic Engines, while robot Taz takes care of audio modules. Together, they’re leading the way in recovering recycled materials for the next generation of products.”

It’s free, too, so if you have an old Apple device with no resale value, give it to the robots. Even if you have a device that still holds value, Apple’s trade-in service might be a good idea. You’ll get credit towards your next purchase.

No more leather

Apple also published a new video entitled Goodbye Leather that confirms the company no longer uses leather in any of its accessories. This follows the release of an in-house leather-replacement called FineWoven last year, that was particularly badly received:

Apple describes FineWoven as “a luxurious and durable microtwill … made of 68% post-consumer recycled content.” Great for the environment, sure, and pretty good news for cows too. But the reception to FineWoven has been extremely negative so far. People do not like this new fabric. But why?

The FineWoven cases for iPhone 15 and 15 Pro have been widely criticized for both their feel and durability. The texture is almost oily, which is off-putting to some. But the bigger infraction is just how susceptible to scratches and stains this material is. It’s barely been a week and we’re already seeing reports of lasting damage from gentle use, with consumers saying the case doesn’t live up to its premium price point.

Apple’s green efforts are certainly worth applauding, but let’s hope it has a better plan for future accessories this time around.