Apple is offering free recycling of all its used products and vowing to power all its stores, offices and data centers with renewable energy to reduce the pollution caused by its devices and online services.
The iPhone and iPad maker is detailing its efforts to cultivate a greener Apple Inc. in an environmental section on the company’s website that debuted Monday. The site highlights ways the Cupertino, Calif., company is increasing its reliance on alternative power sources and sending less electronic junk to landfills.
Apple already had been distributing gift cards at some of its 420 worldwide stores in exchange for iPhones and iPods still in good enough condition to be resold. Now, all the company’s stores will recycle any Apple product at no charge. Gift cards won’t be handed out for recycled products deemed to have little or no resale value.
The offer covers a wide array of electronics that aren’t supposed to be dumped in landfills because of the toxins in them. In the past seven years alone, Apple has sold more than 1 billion iPhones, iPods, iPads and Mac computers.
The new initiative, timed to coincide with today’s annual celebration of Earth Day, strives to position Apple as an environmental steward amid the technological whirlwind of gadgets and Internet services that have been drawing more electricity from power plants that primarily run on natural gas and coal.
Technology products and services accounted for about 2 percent of worldwide emissions in 2012, roughly the same as the airline industry, according to statistics cited by environmental protection group Greenpeace in a report released earlier this month. Some of biggest electricity demands come from huge data centers that house the stacks of computers that process search requests, store photos and email and stream video.
As the world’s largest technology company, Apple is trying to hatch more environmental solutions than problems.
Apple CEO Tim Cook underscored the commitment by narrating a 1 minute, 44 second video about the company’s efforts to protect the environment.
The campaign appears to be more than just a public-relations stunt, based on Greenpeace’s high praise for Apple in its recent review of the technology industry’s environmental responsibility.
Among the 19 companies covered in the report, Greenpeace described Apple as “the most innovative and most aggressive in pursuing its commitment to be 100 percent renewably powered.” Greenpeace also gave high marks to Apple rival, Google Inc., and Facebook Inc., which makes one of the most popular apps on the iPhone and iPad.