Apple will use 100 percent recycled cobalt in batteries by 2025

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23 April, 2023


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Charting Progress to 2025

Apple has significantly expanded the use of 100 percent certified recycled cobalt over the past three years, making it possible to  include in all Apple-designed batteries by 2025. In 2022, a quarter of all cobalt found in Apple products came from recycled material, up from 13 percent the previous year. 

Cobalt is a critical material in the batteries used in most consumer electronics, including Apple devices, enabling high energy density while also meeting Apple’s robust standards for longevity and safety.

Apple-designed batteries found in iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, MacBook, and many other products represent a significant majority of the company’s use of cobalt.

Progress in Responsible Sourcing of Primary and Recycled Materials

As Apple reduces its reliance on newly mined minerals, it is also pursuing ways to directly support communities whose livelihoods depend on mining. The company is partnering with experts such as the Fund for Global Human Rights to provide support for frontline human rights and environmental defenders, including in the African Great Lakes region, as well as vocational education programs that enable members of local communities moving away from mining to build skills and pursue new opportunities.

Apple sources primary minerals responsibly and drives the highest level of human rights and environmental standards across its supply chain. Apple was the first electronics company to publish a list of cobalt and lithium refiners in its battery supply chain, with cobalt in 2016 and lithium in 2020. In 2017, the company mapped its supply chain for rare earths. And since 2015, every identified smelter and refiner for tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold has participated in independent third-party audits.

In the transition to recycled and renewable content, Apple has prioritized 14 materials based on environment, human rights, and supply impact that together account for nearly 90 percent of the material shipped in Apple products: aluminum, cobalt, copper, glass, gold, lithium, paper, plastics, rare earth elements, steel, tantalum, tin, tungsten, and zinc.

In 2022, about 20 percent of all material shipped in Apple products came from recycled or renewable sources. This includes the first use of recycled copper foil in the main logic board of iPad (10th generation), the introduction of certified recycled steel in the battery tray of MacBook Air with the M2 chip, 100 percent recycled tungsten in the latest Apple Watch lineup, and the aluminum enclosures found in many Apple products, made with a 100 percent recycled aluminum alloy designed by Apple. 

Innovating for the Future of Recycling

Apple’s work to pioneer new research and development for end-of-life disassembly and recycling has helped make this progress possible. Through extensive efforts including partnerships with leading research institutions and the Material Recovery Lab in Austin, Texas, Apple engineers and experts are developing innovative ways to give materials in Apple products new life, and helping inform design decisions that support disassembly and recovery.

The company’s iPhone disassembly robot, Daisy, separates batteries from other components, and enables specialty recyclers to recover cobalt and other materials, including lithium. Since 2019, Apple estimates that more than 11,000 kilograms of cobalt have been recovered from batteries extracted by Daisy and then returned to the secondary market. Daisy also helps recover rare earth elements, which are largely lost through traditional electronics recycling processes.