Apple and Amazon produce too much e-waste

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For a long time, companies like Amazon and Apple have produced too much electronic waste and shirked their environmental responsibilities for the products they sell.

Apple and Amazon produce too much e-waste

This is the cold comment made by Philip Dunne , chairman of the British Environmental Audit Commission , who recently published the results of a study on the circular economy and the  production of electronic waste . 

According to EAC research , waste generated by companies such as Amazon and Apple wastes valuable resources vital to a sustainable future, the report released Thursday said.

The parliamentary commission notes that technology companies such as  Apple “ glue and solder the  internal components ” which makes repairs almost impossible.

Therefore, consumers are not in full control of the devices they own; they cannot proceed independently to repair individual components and they do not have access to technical manuals to guide troubleshooting.

The alternative is to contact the manufacturer directly, but on this point the EAC adds: “ the costs proposed by Apple for the repair can be so high that it is more economical to completely replace the article .”

For  Amazon , as well as other major online retailers, they challenge not doing their part by collecting and recycling electronics. And it is a behavior that acquires even more relevance in a scenario characterized by the strong push in online sales caused  by the pandemic .

 The EAC makes two types of proposals:

  • Establish the right to repair by law and reduce the value added tax associated with repair services. The right to reparation is the goal that the entire European Community is also targeting, which has recently taken new steps in this direction. Such a right would directly affect the production and sales policies of giants of Apple’s caliber.
  • Obligation of large e-commerce companies, such as Amazon, to collect and recycle electronic waste. In this way, there would be no unequal treatment with respect to physical retailers and producers who are obliged to comply with these obligations.

The EAC then re-emphasizes the importance of recycling electronic products because they contain harmful materials – take for example cobalt – essential not only for the high-tech market, but also for green technology.

The recovery of harmful materials already used, instead of acquiring new ones, helps to keep the polluting emissions associated with the extraction process low.

electronic waste

Apple and Amazon’s response

The EAC’s serious complaints were commented on by representatives of Apple and Amazon who said they were quite surprised, given that they have long carried out initiatives aimed at reducing the production of electronic waste.

We were surprised and disappointed by the EAC report, which in no way reflects Apple’s efforts to conserve resources and protect the planet we all share. Never before have customers had multiple options to exchange, recycle, and get quality, safe repairs. Our latest range of Apple Watch, iPad and iPhone products use recycled materials as essential components.

Precisely, Apple presented the need to reduce the environmental impact as a justification for the choice to remove  the charger and headphones from the iPhone packaging (starting with  the  12 series ,  Mini ,  Pro  and  Pro Max models ). 

The Cupertino company stresses that it will continue to work with the British Parliament and Government to demonstrate its commitment to environmental protection initiatives.

Amazon , for its part, recalls how the tools that allow customers to proceed with the recycling of electronic products have already been activated for some time,  in particular Amazon Second Chance  is mentioned  :

Amazon  is committed to minimizing waste and helping our customers reuse, repair and recycle their products […] Over the past 10 years we have supported the recycling of over 10,000 tonnes of e-waste in the UK. Our newest devices are made from more recycled materials than ever, and we are the first company to invest in renewable energy projects to offset the energy used by our customers’ devices after purchase.

Also not to be overlooked is the Climate Pledge initiative , created by Amazon and Global Optimism , which aims to guide participating companies to move towards a zero-carbon economy by 2040.

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