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Apple has shared a new Paper and Packaging Strategy white paper, outlining steps the company takes to reduce its paper impact by using paper more efficiently, sourcing it responsibly, and protecting or creating sustainable working forests.

iphone-7-packaging.jpg
iPhone 7 packaging

To protect the environment for the future, Apple said three priorities guide its efforts:1. Reduce impact on climate change by using renewable energy sources and driving energy efficiency in products and facilities.

2. Conserve precious resources by using materials efficiently, using more recycled and renewable content in products, and recovering material from products at the end of their life.

3. Identify, develop, and utilize safer materials in products and processes.The change in iPhone packaging from iPhone 6s to iPhone 7 illustrates the significant impact of Apple's efforts.

iphone-packaging-chart-800x297.jpg

While the iPhone 6s packaging included two stacked plastic trays that hold the device and accessories separately, Apple came up with a new design for the iPhone 7 packaging that allows a single tray to do the work of two. Eliminating the second tray significantly reduced the packaging's material footprint.

Apple's environmental teams also found a fiber-based material that could be used to make the trays, replacing the petroleum-based plastic previously used. The white paper says a similar exploration of new materials and design led to innovations in the EarPods carrier, further reducing the use of materials.

For the iPhone 6s, Apple designed a plastic EarPods carrying case that discreetly wraps the cables and holds the headphones in place. For the iPhone 7, however, Apple developed a more environmentally friendly paperboard-based solution with a set of folds and cuts that secure the EarPods and cable.

These changes contributed to an 84 percent decrease in plastic usage for iPhone 7 packaging compared with iPhone 6s, according to Apple.

For the iPhone 8, Apple even sourced a more environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic wrap that protects the iPhone's wall charger. Apple's white paper reveals the meticulous steps it took to achieve this feat, which involved working directly with a supplier to alter aspects of the manufacturing process.
Finding a fiber alternative proved challenging since fiber naturally expands and contracts with changes in humidity. The significant number of suppliers and locations through which the power adapter wrap would pass made controlling the humidity of the environment impossible. This required Apple to take a very hands-on approach, working directly with the supplier to alter aspects of the manufacturing process to create a fiber wrap that would meet technical needs. While the power adapter wrap is a small piece of the iPhone packaging, it represents a significant amount of material given the number of iPhone units sold.
Ultimately, Apple said it hopes that its program highlights a process for others to take responsibility for their impact on global resources, and work with external stakeholders to protect the environment.

Article Link: Apple Shares Meticulous Steps Taken to Ensure iPhone Packaging is Environmentally Friendly
 

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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Some might think is this a Cost cutting method (Which it somewhat is), but given Apples track record with environmental standards, I believe this is their way of being proactive.

Another example would be that they eliminated the plastic box for the stainless steel Apple Watch packaging. Those likely would end up not properly disposed of, even though they were to nice to have when storing the Apple Watch.

And someone else alluded to, the plastic casing for the EarPods included in previous iPhones was nice to have for traveling, and now they resorted to cardboard, Which was nice to have. It's hard to argue Apples method behind their end goal, even if it appears it's a cheaper alternative to the packaging.
 
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reallynotnick

macrumors 6502a
Oct 21, 2005
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I was really impressed in the packaging going from the iPhone 6 to the iPhone 8. The one question I have is why does the brick even need a wrap at all? Is it more just for moving it through a factory and not getting it scratched? Because it would be totally fine in the box without a wrap I would assume?

I assume the remaining amount of plastic is mostly from the box outer wrapping and the phone wrapping. I'm guessing the boxes probably scuff up decently easy otherwise you could probably do some kind of paper pull tab to open up the box and the one on the phone is more to make unboxing videos fun because a paper wrap would hide the phone.
 
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BaltimoreMediaBlog

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Jul 30, 2015
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Some might think is this a Cost cutting method (Which it somewhat is), but given Apples track record with environmental standards, I believe this is their way of being proactive.

Another example would be that they eliminated the plastic box for the stainless steel Apple Watch packaging. Those likely would end up not properly disposed of, even though they were to nice to have when storing the Apple Watch.

And someone else alluded to, the plastic casing for the EarPods included in previous iPhones was nice to have for traveling, and now they resorted to cardboard, Which was nice to have. it's hard to argue Apples method behind their end goal.

Cost cutting move? Oh hell no. This is just part of the Apple Tax you pay for. The only thing that bothers me is that the packaging would actually be more environmentally friendly if everything was just cardboard & paper, no plastic at all, but then the tree hugger groups would lash out. It's really a no win situation with some of these groups.
 
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Return Zero

macrumors 6502a
Oct 2, 2013
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Kentucky
Yeah, I was about to say that I was in before the "I wish they were this meticulous with their software QA" comments...

I'm far too late for that.
 
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Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
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We live in an era where tons and tons of electronics are thrown to garbage which are non biodegradable, and yet we worry about the environmental friendliness of a cardboard box.

But you still have one company (Apple) that's taking measures to think about the environment and what they can do to be proactive about it. Apple can't change the world, but they can change their own practices and methods of altering their packaging contents.
 
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orbital~debris

macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2004
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Love this effort.

And yes, some may cynically say Apple only/partly do such things so they can talk about it as a form of marketing, but even if that’s the case - they’re still doing this, reducing their impact on our global environment; so all good (and scope to expand the endeavour).
 
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bunnicula

macrumors 68040
Jul 23, 2008
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I don't like that they did away with the plastic case that Apple Watches came in (for the SS models... no clue how Edition was boxed this year).

I mean, that case was what one expects with a watch purchase in that price range.
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It doesn't?

The wires are tucked under the front of the cardboard. Have you never opened the iPhone 7 box?

I have. I figured the wires were tucked under (I have a 7 plus and I've owned every model prior, so I'm used to looking in these boxes).

The first thing that hit me was how much this, in the photo, looks like a box with AirPods in it.
 
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adamjackson

macrumors 68000
Jul 9, 2008
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Nothing new here aside from Apple highlighting it. Apple packaging has gone down significantly over the last decade. A lot of the improvements benefit Apple. Less cost for packing and more iPhones fit on planes / trucks reducing shipping costs.
 
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LordVic

macrumors 603
Sep 7, 2011
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I have no problem with the packaging being as environmentallly friendly and reusable as possible

the problem here really isn't with Apple, it's with consumers who don't recycle the packaging and just throw it into any old garbage bin / landfill.
 
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jmgregory1

macrumors 68020
What I think is funny is the fact that a lot of people hold onto their Apple packaging. I've got a closet filled with iPhone, Airport, trackpad, keyboard, MacBook Air, rMBP, iPad, etc. boxes that I just can't bring myself to recycling. I've been in the packaging industry, so some of my desire to keep them is based around having great examples of what's possible in rigid packaging, but I also like having them for their historical significance.

So whether Apple uses all green materials (paper) or plastic, doesn't matter for me as much because they're not going to be recycled or thrown away (until I'm 80+ years old and it the closet will look like I'm some hoarder of Apple products - which I am...).
 
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MrCornfed

macrumors member
Jul 25, 2013
74
126
What I think is funny is the fact that a lot of people hold onto their Apple packaging.

I had a drawer full of iPhone packaging back to the 4 until I realized I didn't really need them and sold them all on eBay, but there's still couple of MacBook boxes and one for the airport.
 
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HowEver

macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2005
787
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Toronto
That might make more sense if you knew what plastic is made of.

Cost cutting move? Oh hell no. This is just part of the Apple Tax you pay for. The only thing that bothers me is that the packaging would actually be more environmentally friendly if everything was just cardboard & paper, no plastic at all, but then the tree hugger groups would lash out. It's really a no win situation with some of these groups.
 
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ACST

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Sep 5, 2016
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Can you imagine how much less packaging they would need if they would have included a fast charger.
 
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e1me5

macrumors 6502
Jun 11, 2013
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What I think is funny is the fact that a lot of people hold onto their Apple packaging. I've got a closet filled with iPhone, Airport, trackpad, keyboard, MacBook Air, rMBP, iPad, etc. boxes that I just can't bring myself to recycling. I've been in the packaging industry, so some of my desire to keep them is based around having great examples of what's possible in rigid packaging, but I also like having them for their historical significance.

I feel you. My mother urges me to throw away a 2010 MBP card box but I am refusing relentlessly, she doesn't understand why. I don't have that computer anymore but the box is still there. There is beauty on it that I haven't found on any other PC packaging.
 
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himanshumodi

macrumors 6502
May 18, 2012
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India
I can see that they’re going for environmentally friendly and that’s great, but I always keep my ear pods in the plastic case that came with my 6S, keeps them clean and tidy in my bag.

I always start like that. But it quickly starts feeling like a lot of work. I can only respect your sense of discipline to do that everytime!
 
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