Materials needed to make digital, electronic, and wireless devices and infrastructure are often referred to as “Conflict Minerals” because of their devastating environmental and humanitarian impacts. Toxic Electronic Waste aka “E-Waste” is one of those impacts.
In 2020 the U.N. warned that 82% of E-Waste is NOT being recycled (see also 1, 2). According to researchers, Big Tech should be taking more responsibility to reduce E-Waste.
Of course, due to COVID concerns more products are being manufactured and innovations to reduce E-Waste are sometimes making it more difficult. Apple AirPods have been targeted before as being a significant and growing source of E-Waste.
More about the company’s E-Waste impact from ZDNet:
Apple’s colossal e-waste timebomb
An unfortunate yet inevitable side-effect of the popularity of gadgets is e-waste, and it’s something that every company has to address. But Apple is facing a literal skyscraper.
During Apple’s financials earnings call the other day, CEO Tim Cook casually announced that Apple’s hardware ecosystem had exceeded 1.65 billion devices by the end of last year.
At the time I remember thinking “wow,” and then promptly forgot about it.
Then the other night, it struck me just how enormous that number actually is.
A billion. Then half again. And a bit more on top to finish.
And then it dawned on me just how big of an e-waste problem is facing Apple in the coming years.
Apple iPhone12 models and chargers have also been making recent headlines for being potentially hazardous for people with medical implants, defibrillators, and pacemakers (see 1, 2).
Read more: Apple’s Billions of Devices Described as “Colossal E-Waste “Timebomb” — iPhone12 Affecting Pacemakers Also Making Headlines