Onstage at today’s hardware announcement event, Apple proudly announced that the 2018 models of its MacBook Air and Mac mini would both be manufactured with 100 percent recycled aluminum. Additionally, it announced that its Mac mini would be constructed from 60 percent recycled plastic.
These are different kinds of recycled materials. Specifically, the recycled plastic is “post-consumer,” which means that it’s material that’s previously been used in other products and was recycled. Meanwhile, the aluminum is recycled leftovers from Apple’s production of other aluminum products. In other words, you’re not getting a laptop made out of old drink cans.
Repairability needs to improve
This is not the first environmental milestone that Apple has hit this year. Back in April, the company announced that it’s powered entirely by renewable energy worldwide. And at today’s event, it added that the same is true for all its retail locations as well. For a business as big as Apple, that’s a significant achievement.
But the environmental impact of a product doesn’t just come down to the materials that go into it. Having something that’s easy to repair and use for years means that you don’t have to buy a new product at all, and it’s here that Apple still falls short.
Whether it’s the poor repairability scores of its recent laptops or its restrictive attitude toward third-party repair services, Apple doesn’t exactly make it easy for you to keep your Apple products running for years. You can absolutely get your devices repaired if you need, but you have to find authorized repair services. And with no option to do it yourself, many people will choose to simply buy a new product, with all the negative environmental impact that entails.
Apple’s announcements today are a significant step in the right direction, but there’s a lot more it can still achieve.