What it is: Apple has an official recycling program to keep electronics such as iPhones out of landfills as much as possible.
What happened to most PCs and mobile phones back in the old days? Most of them time they got tossed in the garbage and wound up in a landfill. That by itself might not sound so bad until your realize that many electronic devices contain metals and toxic chemicals that can leech into the soil, contaminating the land around it. Yet for decades people tolerated this practice and ignored the consequences.
When Apple became a global technology leader, they offered an official recycling program. Not only was the goal to keep toxic materials out of landfills, but it was also a smart public relations move to show the technology industry and the public in general what makes Apple different from the rest of its rivals. Although Apple’s recycling program has recovered toxic materials, it has also recovered 2,204 pounds of gold from recycled products as revealed in its annual Environmental Responsibility Report (PDF).
The gold alone is worth m millions but Apple will likely reuse the materials to manufacturer future iPhones, iPads, and other devices. What’s important isn’t just that Apple is recycling toxic materials and keeping them out of landfills, but that so many other companies don’t publicize or promote their own recycling programs. Why not? How many decades passed while people tossed old PCs in landfills whether the toxic materials in this products leech into landfills or not?
Apple has taken the lead in protecting the environment, protecting the rights of workers overseas in companies that they don’t control (Foxconn), and producing products that minimize the use of toxic materials in the first place. What are other companies doing besides trying to make more money?
That’s the difference between Apple and its rivals, and that explains large part why a cult of Apple has formed. While other companies ignore the public except when it comes to selling products and maximizing profits, Apple takes the lead in promoting social responsibility, which is rare for a large corporation.
Apple may not be perfect, but at least they’re constantly striving for greater social responsibility and equality. Can other companies make that same claim?