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Waste Not
Apple Offers Free Recycling, Makes Clean Energy Commitments

In honor of Earth Day on Tuesday, Apple announced it is now offering free recycling of all of its used products, and has pledged to power all of its stores, offices and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services.

To accompany the announcement, Apple unveiled a revamped environmental responsibility website and an introductory video narrated by CEO Tim Cook.

"Better. It's a powerful word, and a powerful ideal," Cook says to open the video. "It makes us look at the world and want more than anything to change it for the better. To innovate, improve, to reinvent. To make it better."

Cook goes on to say that the electronics company is looking at ways to reduce its environmental footprint across several areas, from altering the materials used in its products to increasing their recyclability. He also mentions Apple's new data center designs and Arizona sapphire plant that are powered entirely by renewable energy.

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"We have a long way to go and a lot to learn," Cook says. "But now, more than ever, we will work to leave the world better than we found it and make the tools that inspire others to do the same."

The updated website breaks out the topics mentioned in the video into more descriptive sections — Climate Change, Toxins, Finite Resources and Our Progress. Each of the first three deal with ways in which Apple has altered its energy practices and products, while Our Progress features a letter from environmental chief Lisa Jackson and a bulleted list of major environmental victories over the past 13 years.

Some of the noteworthy achievements Apple highlights include:

  • Including both data centers and corporate campuses, 94 percent of Apple's energy is from renewable sources
  • Apple is working with suppliers to recycle water with a new Clean Water Program pilot
  • All Apple cables used in China are now PVC-free
  • Apple has signed the CERES Climate Declaration
  • Energy initiatives at facilities in Cupertino have saved enough energy to power 1,200 homes per year
  • Over 1,000 shared bicycles will be available at the new 'mother ship' campus
  • Over 90 percent of material Apple recycles is from products other than its own

Apple has made a series of bold pronouncements recently regarding its commitment to sustainability: In its latest Supplier Responsibility report, released in February, the company said it will reveal the names and certification status of all minerals suppliers in an effort to eliminate the use of conflict minerals from its supply chain. And in March, Cook told shareholders that investors who don’t agree with Apple’s sustainability commitments should divest.

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