Apple products were made with 50 percent more recycled material last year

The company is eager to tout its eco-friendliness ahead of Earth Day.

Cherlynn Low/Engadget

Apple is boasting of its environmental initiatives ahead of Earth Day, and it's shedding new light on its devices in the process. As part of its 2022 Environmental Progress Report, the company has revealed that 18 percent of the material in its fiscal 2021 products was recycled or renewed, the "highest-ever" ratio at the iPhone maker and a 50 percent jump from last year's 12 percent. There were eight new products including at least 20 percent recycled material. This included the company's first use of certified recycled gold (in the mainboards and camera arrays of the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro), while reuses of cobalt, rare earth elements and tungsten "more than doubled" over the year.

The tech firm also said it had cut nearly all use of plastics in its packaging. The material represented just 4 percent of packaging in 2021, and the new iPhones were the company's first handsets without any plastic packing material. Apple hopes to eliminate all use of plastic in its packaging by 2025.

The report not-so-subtly advertised Apple's response to repairability concerns. The company noted that its its products have become increasingly easier to fix at repair centers, and use more durable designs. It mentioned the announcement of the Self Service Repair program, although it wasn't more specific about the 2022 launch window.

Apple has been eager to share its eco-friendly goals in the past, including plans to make both its products and the supply chain carbon neutral by 2030. Critics have argued that highly publicized efforts like these sometimes represent "greenwashing" that masks the overall environmental harm of their products (such as shipping hundreds of millions of devices per year). However, it's still good to know that the hardware you buy won't deal quite as severe a blow as it would have in the past.

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