Apple ups the ante with recycling initiative

In Apple's new campaign, the company known for its disruptive products is upping the game by adopting corporate policies that aim to “leave the world better than we found it”.

Apple presents its new "Better" campaign. Video: Apple Image (front page): Hung Chung Chih /

Technology giant Apple caused kicked up an online storm on Tuesday, Earth Day, when it released full-page newspaper advertisements that said: “There are some ideas we want every company to copy”.

The ad, which accompanied an announcement about the firm’s new recycling initiative, showed a photo of a field full of solar panel arrays, with the headline urging firms to similarly invest in renewable energy and implement other sustainability measures.

The tongue-in-cheek ad campaign was interpreted to be a dig at tech rival Samsung, with whom it is embroiled in legal battles due to trademark patents that Samsung allegedly violated.

“There’s one area where we actually encourage others to imitate us. Because when everyone makes the environment a priority, we all benefit. We’d be more than happy to see every data centre fuelled by 100% renewable energy sources. And we eagerly await the day when every product is made without the harmful toxins we have removed from ours,” said the ad.

As part of its wider campaign called, “Better“, Apple declared: “Better can’t be better if it doesn’t consider everything - our products, our values, and even our commitment to the environment.”

The company’s data centers are all powered by clean energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and their upcoming campus in Cupertino “will be a model of energy efficiency and green building design”, Apple said on their website. 

They are also looking into greener materials, less packaging, and contributing less products to landfills. In line with this, Apple also announced its new e-waste policy: all Apple stores will now accept any of their products for recycling for free. They also plan to give store credit if the returned product still looks saleable. 

Lisa Jackson, former administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Apple vice president of environmental initiatives, said, “We believe we must be accountable for every Apple product at every stage of its use.”

Apple became noticeably more vocal about their own sustainability when chief executive Tim Cook, earlier this year, asserted his position on addressing climate change against sceptic shareholders. He said, “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

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