Apple unveils plan to reduce waste by using pre-owned parts in product repairs

Electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest growing form of domestic waste globally.

The new procedure will commence with select iPhone models this autumn, prioritising the preservation of an iPhone user’s privacy, security and safety, while providing consumers with additional repair choices to reduce the environmental impact of the repairing process.

Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering John Ternus said: “At Apple, we’re always looking for new ways to deliver the best possible experience for our customers while reducing the impact we have on the planet, and a key part of that means designing products that last.”

The brand asserts that with the prolonged lifespan of its products, ensuring the authenticity of a repair component and gathering associated information, often termed as “pairing,” becomes increasingly important in safeguarding privacy, security and safety.

In 2019, a survey conducted by the Royal Society of Chemistry revealed that 51% of UK households possessed at least one unused electronic device, of which 69% intended to keep them as spares. Among those who chose not to recycle their electronic devices, 37% expressed concerns about data and security.

Apple teams have been working over the past two years to facilitate the reuse of components such as biometric sensors for Face ID or Touch ID, while mitigating any safety risks.

Ternus added: “With this latest expansion to our repair program, we’re excited to be adding even more choice and convenience for our customers, while helping to extend the life of our products and their parts.”

According to a UN report, electronic waste (e-waste) is the fastest-growing form of domestic waste globally, with around 50 million metric tonnes being produced in 2019 alone, of which only 20% was recycled.

On a global scale, discarded computers, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices constitute a potential annual worth of $57bn due to the presence of valuable metals like gold, silver, copper, platinum and other essential materials such as tungsten and indium.

Over the last five years, Apple has almost doubled the number of service locations providing Apple parts, tools and training to more than 10,000 independent repair providers, in order to promote repairing practices for its products.

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