Apple To Use 100% Recycled Cobalt In Its Batteries

17 April 23

Apple is planning to switch to recycled cobalt for the production of its batteries as soon as 2025. In addition, the rare minerals needed to produce magnets in Apple’s devices will be fully recycled as well.

For a long time now tech companies had faced a lot of backlash from the public for the use of mined materials both due to environmental and ethical reasons. The two main ingredients in lithium-ion batteries are cobalt and lithium. Both of which are tainted with human rights abuses as well as environmental sustainability issues.

Destruction of local ecosystems, accusations of mistreatment of miners together with the overuse of freshwater resources among others is enough for the customers of a multi-national super-brand like Apple to take note. 

Apple seems to recognize the problem by taking action to fix it. In 2019 Apple invested heavily in its Material Recovery Lab based in Austin, Texas. The core idea is to recycle old Apple products to obtain cobalt and other minerals.

Since 2018, around 11,000 kilograms of cobalt has been recycled from used batteries by Material Recovery Lab. In addition to that, a lot of rare earth elements can be recovered using their recycling process.

As of 2022, as much as a quarter of all cobalt used in Apple products was recycled. One of the biggest growing environmental problems now is discarded electronics containing lithium-ion batteries. The ability to re-use materials from discarded electronics to make new devices is the definition of killing to birds with one stone.

Recycling batteries is an exciting field that more tech companies should get behind in the future. It is good to see the electronics giant, Apple, taking big strides towards a sustainable future.

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