The iPhone SE (Third Generation) Is Not Only Budget-Friendly, It’s Very Eco-Friendly, Too

FEATURE – The “SE” branding in Apple’s low-cost iPhone may unofficially stand for “special edition” but it might as well translate to “saving [the] environment” (or, better yet, the Earth).

The iPhone SE (third generation) — the latest version of Apple’s cheap and compact smartphone — isn’t just light on the wallet (so to speak) but light on the planet as well. Designed to minimize its impact on the environment, the device, as with most of the company’s other products, is made with recycled materials and remains free of chemicals and/or substances that are harmful to the Earth.

A low-carbon aluminum that creates oxygen during the smelting process, above, as opposed to harmful greenhouse gases is planned for use by Apple in the production of its low-cost iPhone, the iPhone SE. (Photo: Apple, Inc.)

Even the product box that the iPhone SE comes in has been redesigned to eliminate the outer plastic wrap, bringing the Cupertino, California-based company closer to its goal of completely removing plastics from the packaging of its products by 2025.

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Using Recycled Content

According to Apple, the iPhone SE includes 100% recycled content in the following components of the device:

  • 100% recycled tungsten in the Taptic Engine
  • 100% recycled rare earth elements in the Taptic Engine and audio magnets
  • 100% recycled tin in the solder of the main logic board

Earlier this week, in anticipation of Earth Day,Apple released a report with regard to the amount of recycled content used across its products, noting that the company hadmore than doubled its use of recycled rare earth elements and recycled tungsten (such as in the iPhone SE) as well as recycled cobalt (which is used in iPhone batteries). In 2021, nearly 20% of all materials used in its products was made up of recycled content, the highest ever use to-date.

“As people around the world join in celebrating Earth Day, we are making real progress in our work to address the climate crisis and to one day make our products without taking anything from the Earth,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president of environment, policy, and social initiatives (in the press release from earlier this week containing the report).

Reducing Carbon Emissions

In March, ahead of last month’s observance of Earth Hour and weeks in advance of this year’s celebration of Earth Day, Apple announced that the company was planning to use the world’s first low-carbon aluminum in the production of the iPhone SE.

Rather than creating greenhouse gases, the low-carbon aluminum creates oxygen during the smelting process. And, because the material is manufactured without creating any direct carbon emissions, Apple touted this as having the potential to reduce the impact of its products on the Earth’s climate.

In its report from earlier this week, Apple noted that last year, 59% of all aluminum used by the company came from recycled sources, with many products featuring 100% recycled aluminum in the enclosure.

“Apple is committed to leaving the planet better than we found it, and our Green Bonds are a key tool to drive our environmental efforts forward,” said Jackson (in the press release from last month containing the company’s announcement). “Our investments are advancing the breakthrough technologies needed to reduce the carbon footprint of the materials we use, even as we move to using only recyclable and renewable materials across our products to conserve the Earth’s finite resources.”

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