Happy Earth Day, everyone! I must confess, as a 31 year-old, I have never really appreciated what I’ve always viewed as a pointless holiday until now. I never understood why you would have a day to celebrate the Earth, but I’ve also never been so passionate about a product or brand as a whole as I am for Apple. There is a never-ending, sometimes heated, debate across the world between Mac and PC (or Windows) users. Who’s better? Why? How? 💤💤💤 Like others on the Mac side of that argument, I stand strong that what Apple creates is the best overall. Could they improve in areas? OF COURSE! If they had everything perfect for everybody, then we would never have something to look forward to and enjoy! All that to say I want to take a step back today and focus on the deeper heartbeat of Apple and what else they are doing in the world.
The co-founder of Apple, the late Steve Jobs, and more-so recently his successor, CEO Tim Cook, have taken very seriously the impact that their company has on the environment. You will very rarely catch a news segment or big showcase featuring efforts made by Apple or other big tech companies to improve processes or practices regarding this area. I want to showcase why Earth Day really is something to celebrate every day and why other companies need to jump on board with Apple and invest heavily in this charge.
Apple has stated their goal to become a completely “closed-loop supply chain,” which essentially means that they want to create an iPhone or Mac with the materials they have available to them, let it run its life course, return to Apple via their Renew device recycling program, where they strip that used product down to individual materials and put it back into production for a new Mac or iPhone.
As of 2017, Apple already has many programs in operation that put that goal into practice by taking the finite materials that are used in the manufacturing of their products and putting them back to good use in a responsible way.
As you can see above, the first iMac from 1998 pushed 35w of energy and Apple took a very serious approach to drastically reducing the energy consumption year after year as each new product is released. As of the early 2010’s, Apple has brought their iMac line down from 35w to an incredibly low 0.9w! This amazing progress can be see elsewhere in the iPhone, iPad and MacBook lines, among others.
Did you know that every time you use Siri or send an iMessage or make a FaceTime call, the resources required to use those services are dependent on energy from data centers owned by Apple across the country. Luckily, Apple has made their data centers in such a way that they run on 100% renewable energy. There are times when the demand for energy exceeds what Apple is capable of supporting, so they use third-party data centers that are shared with other companies. What’s amazing is that Apple doesn’t avoid responsibility for their energy consumption just because they don’t own these data centers. They include these facilities in their ongoing effort to meet their goals.
In addition to energy usage, you can see from the picture above the ways in which Apple is innovating in their packaging. In the past, Apple and other companies put everything in square or rectangular boxes and filled the holes with packing materials. Above, you’ll the the first picture of an iMac box. As you know, the iMac has a unique overall shape to it and Apple has decided to design the packaging around the product, instead of the other way around. In turn, the packaging contains 53% less volume than a more square box. Similarly with the iPhone, there have been some internal components to the iPhone package that caused the contents to take up a lot of space. By restructuring the layout of where the phone accessories are placed inside, they could drastically decrease the size of the box. It’s also a huge reason why the phones are getting thinner.