Apple said it will stop using material from mines in its iPhones -- but it can't do it yet

Apple has pledged to make iPhones out of entirely recycled materials in the future, although it’s not quite there yet.

Vice News reported on Wednesday that Apple has publicly announced that it wants to stop using materials sourced from mines.

The announcement was made in Apple’s 2017 environmental responsibility report, which tracks the company’s green credentials.

“We believe our goal should be a closed-loop supply chain, where products are built using only renewable resources or recycled material,” the report said.

Vice News interviewed Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives Lisa Jackson about the company’s new goal.

“We’re actually doing something we rarely do, which is announce a goal before we’ve completely figured out how to do it,” Jackson said.

Apple’s report says that “when there are materials for which recycling technologies don’t yet exist, we’ll need to invest in research and other technology solutions.”

Apple has often been criticised for using materials from mines in its products. The company was accused in 2014 of using tin from mines that use child labour, for example. And in 2016 an Amnesty International report accused Apple of sourcing cobalt that had been mined by children.

It’s been a long-running public relations nightmare for Apple, and now it says it wants to drop mines altogether and move towards recycled materials for iPhones. This won’t be happening in the next iPhone, though, but it’s a long-term goal for the company.

Jackson was also asked about the so-called “right to repair,” which would give customers the right to repair iPhones themselves using spare parts and proper manuals. “I think trying to pretend that we can sort of make it easy to repair the product, and that you get the product that you think you’re buying — that you want — isn’t the answer,” Jackson said.

Here’s the full segment from Vice News:

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