Apple has promised to bring their entire carbon footprint to net zero by 2030—and by removing iPhone 12’s charger and headphones from the packaging, they claimed it could help the company’s sustainability initiatives. However, a report in the UK accuses Apple of not playing its part in electronic waste reduction.
According to an investigation by the environmental audit committee in the UK, the country “creates the second highest levels of electronic waste in the world, after Norway”. Members of parliament (MPs) have said the UK was not collecting and treating waste properly, and that “a lot of it goes to landfill, incineration or is dumped overseas”.
“Under current laws, producers and retailers of electronics are responsible for this waste, yet they are clearly not fulfilling that responsibility,” wrote the MPs.
The report named Apple, Amazon, and eBay in the report. It’s said that these companies should be made responsible for helping to collect, recycle and repair their products to cut the 155,000 tonnes of electronic waste being thrown away each year in the UK.
The report also condemns the “built-in obsolescence” in many electronic products—which includes intentionally shortening the lifespan of products. Consumers also “could not take components out to repair themselves” and “there were no access manuals on how issues could be fixed”.
“The charges proposed for repair by Apple in particular can be so expensive it is more economical to replace the item completely… Tech companies should now take the lead in creating sustainable and environmentally friendly business models that do not rely on the over exploitation of nature and natural resources,” said the report.
Apple then responded to the report, saying that they were “surprised and disappointed” as it “does not reflect any of Apple’s efforts to conserve resources and protect the planet”. They also said that there are more options for customers to trade in, recycle and get safe, quality repairs “than ever before”.
“…Our latest Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhone lineup all use recycled material across key components. We will continue to work with parliament and the government to document Apple’s industry-leading commitments and to support our common effort to leave a clean economy and a healthy planet for the next generation,” said Apple.
While Apple has ditched the charger and EarPods for their iPhone 12 box for most countries—supposedly part of the company’s sustainability effort—their box in France instead creates more waste. Apple inserted a box with its EarPods at the bottom of the box that contains the smartphone.