Apple has one of the most belligerent sustainability and recycling programs in tech, but it immobile pulls bounty of metals and toxic rare-earth materials out of the ground to make iPhones, iPads, Macbooks and supplementary products.

Apple is taking stepladder to end its dependence on mining for the materials that it uses in its devices, fetching the first big tech company to commend to use only recycled metals, rare earths, and further minerals. The company outlined its aim to stop digging up new possessions in its hottest Environmental Responsibility Report , released today. In the document, Apple says that it campaign to “one day” move to a closed-loop mechanized system (in which it can get all the metals and rare earths it requirements from recycle and reuse programs), but that it’s not entirely sure how to get to that tip.

end mining

The declaration, part of Apple’s 2017 Environment Responsibility Report on the rampage Wednesday, will consign the company to making devices entirely from recycled materials such as aluminum, copper, tin, and tungsten. But there’s one hiccup: Apple doesn’t know precisely how it’s obtainable to make that come about.

In working out which resources to prioritize, Apple created “Material Risk Profiles,” judging the environmental and social collision of acquiring  the a variety of assets it uses. It then weighed those profiles up next to how it uses the materials, how habitually they are incorporated in products, and where the company could make the most distinction. The profiles aim to help Apple steadily undertake the sourcing of each material until mining for new resources is no longer obligatory, but that evolution won’t be instantaneous — not all of the materials used in Apple products yet have recycling measures in place up till now.

Apple’s budge has been met with appreciation from environmental group Greenpeace. “This assurance, and Apple’s latest advancement in transitioning its supply chain in Asia to renewable energy, puts it far further on of others in the sector,” senior IT forecaster Gary Cook said. “Major IT brands such as Samsung, Huawei, and Microsoft should quickly match Apple’s leadership, if they don’t want to risk falling even further behind.”


The 2017 report also outlines how Apple is doing on its supplementary environmental aspiration. For example, the company says it’s amenities now run on 96 percent renewable energy — up from 93 percent the year earlier than. This number covers Apple’s stores, corporate offices and record centers. It doesn’t comprise Apple’s many third-party manufacturers, on the additional hand, but Apple says it’s making advancement with them, too.

Apple’s most up-to-date ecological achievements are distinguished, but they will likely be eclipsed by Apple’s new purpose of giving up mining on the whole. That’s because so far though recycling phone mechanism can have its possess environmental impact, the kind of mining that Apple relies on is disreputable for its labor abuses, and the contamination it discharges into neighboring waterways. For instance, a Washington Post report last year exposed that, children had been seen working in Cobalt mines in the Congo — and cobalt is an significant component in the lithium batteries that companies like Apple and Samsung rely on. (Apple has since helped commence a conscientious Cobalt proposal and it accomplished an inspect of its supply chain.)