Apple uses 'world's first' carbon free aluminium in iPhone SE

iPhone SE 2022 in use on wooden background
(Image credit: TechRadar)

Apple is using the first industrially-produced carbon-free aluminium to build the iPhone SE as it seeks to reduce the environmental impact of its products.

The company has made the first order of the aluminium, which is produced by a new smelting process called ‘ELYSIS’ that produces oxygen rather than greenhouse gases.

ELYSIS was created using funds from Apple’s $4.7 billion Green Bond investments into low-carbon and recycling technologies that can reduce its emissions. Every new device manufactured generates carbon emissions across the supply chain and requires the mining of precious metals.

iPhone SE

In 2020, the iPhone manufacturer published a ten-year roadmap outlining plans to reduce emissions by 75% and to develop carbon removal solutions for the remainder of its footprint.

Apple plans to be carbon neutral by 2030 and already uses clean energy to power its global facilities. The company will also develop other low carbon product designs, introduce recycling initiatives, and lower its own electricity needs.
This means that within a decade, every iPhone, iPad or Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact.

The carbon-free aluminium has already been used in the production of the 16-inch MacBook Pro, but had not been publicised until now.

“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 Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives.

“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.”

Other projects to benefit from Apple’s Green Bonds include clean energy initiatives, including the world’s largest onshore wind turbines which power its Danish data centre in Viborg. Over the next year, Apple plans to expand the facility and builds infrastructure that can capture excess heat energy for the local area.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.