The iPhone and iPad maker has become the latest electronics company to dip a toe in the circular economy

When Apple launched a major new programme to boost the recyclability of its devices last month, it was seen as a victory for the circular economy, the business model that seeks to turn the “take, make, dispose” model on its head.

The initiative, Apple Renew, will encourage customers to return used devices to the technology giant, where they will be stripped down to individual component parts, for reuse in new Apple products or repurposing for items such as solar panels, Apple says.

Apple is not the only big technology player to experiment with a less wasteful and more regenerative business model. LP and Google are developing modular phones whose parts can be easily replaced so the phones can be repaired and upgraded, lengthening their lifespan.

The company that has blazed the way is Fairphone, the Dutch social enterprise that was set up in 2013 with the aim of creating a smartphone that does not contain “conflict” minerals and fair labour conditions throughout its supply chain. The second version of the phone, released late last year, was one of the first modular smartphones.

Modular phones and other product designs that would allow electronic component to...

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sustainability  recyclability  circular economy  solar panels  technology  supply chain  recycling  electronic waste 

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