Subtle changes in recent Apple packaging has significantly reduced the amount of plastic that ends up in the trash — and most iPhone buyers probably didn’t even notice.
Apple was able to redesign iPhone 7 packaging to use 84% less plastic, the company revealed in a new report on its forestry operations.
Because Apple sells over 200 million iPhones per year — and each one has bits of plastic packaging, which usually go straight into the trash — these tweaks have prevented tons of plastic from ending up in landfills.
Apple did this in two ways: First, iPhones used to use two stacked plastic trays inside the box, one for the actual iPhone and one for its charger and EarPods. The iPhone 7 packaging only has one tray — and it’s made out of a kind of paper, not a plastic.
Apple also simplified how it wraps its headphones. Before, your new white earbuds came wrapped in a plastic case. The case wasn’t reusable, though, it was only to get the earbuds to the customer safely.
Now, Apple’s headphones come wrapped around a stiff cardboard holder that’s been folded and cut to perfectly fit into the iPhone box.
Here’s a chart about the material reduction:
‘Paper and packaging strategy’
These details come from a larger report on Apple’s “paper and packaging strategy.”
Since Apple hired former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson in 2013 to run its environmental programs, the company has put significant emphasis on renewable energy, even discussing its progress at product launch events. Al Gore, the subject of “An Inconvenient Truth,” is on Apple’s board of directors.
Apple says that 100% of the power for its data centres and 96% of its facilities worldwide come from solar, hydro, and wind power. Last year, Apple said its goal was to make products completely out of recycled materials from older products.
Apple’s latest report also includes new information on its programs to identify how much paper it uses as well as its efforts to fund the protection of forests. You can read it here.
Here’s a promo video on its forestry programs Apple released earlier this year: