Among the 10th anniversary iPhone's long list of features, the iPhone X also includes a new line that says "low carbon process," said Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco on Tuesday. The iPhone X uses low-carbon aluminum that helps reduce Apple's carbon footprint generated by the new phone.
"If we care about something, it does show up in our products," said Jackson, who served as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency during the Barack Obama administration prior to joining Apple.
Apple mines for heavy metals like aluminum, tin and tungsten that are then used to supply almost all iPhone models. But recently, the company has pledged to use recycled materials, like metals, including those from old iPhones, to build new devices. Ultimately, this would allow Apple to abandon mining altogether in favor of a "closed loop supply chain."
Apple CEO Tim Cook reiterated those efforts in an interview with Fortune earlier this month, adding that the company aims to have a no-carbon footprint and run entirely on renewable energy.
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"There's 100-plus elements in an iPhone and we're figuring out how to move those back through the supply chain," Jackson said on Tuesday. "...So the business opportunity is to come to Apple with 'I have a process for getting cobalt out of batteries, or I have a process for getting tungsten.'"
"We're working right now so that the solder that we use in the iPhone 6 is now all recycled tin," Jackson added.
The discussion then moved to how Apple repairs and replaces its iPhones. Jackson noted how one iPhone may have several different owners, which is all a part of its life cycle. Apple has been criticized for how old, unused iPhones contribute to environmental pollution in the past, but one way it can increase an iPhone's livelihood through durability, she said.
"I don't think you can say repairability equals longevity...You have look at the whole life cycle," Jackson explained. "Apple has designed for some time around durability. Around the idea that though we can release the latest and greatest product, your old product still has value -- you can sell it, you can pass it down."