UK Environmental Committee Says Apple Contributing to ‘Throwaway Culture’ of ‘Short-Lived Products’

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Technology companies like Apple are contributing to e-waste by making their products difficult to repair, and charging expensive repair fees, according to a lengthy report published today by the UK Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee.

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“We were told that Apple glues and solders parts together on their laptops, which makes repairing them very difficult,” the Committee wrote in a summary of the report. “They also charge very high fees to repair their products. This trend, which goes against a long history of engineering in the UK, needs to stop.”

In a statement provided to The Guardian, Apple said it was “surprised” and “disappointed” with the Environmental Audit Committee’s report, with the company touting its “industry-leading commitments” to protect the environment:

We were surprised and disappointed with the Environmental Audit Committee’s report, which does not reflect any of Apple’s efforts to conserve resources and protect the planet we all share. There are more options for customers to trade in, recycle and get safe, quality repairs than ever before, and our latest Apple Watch, iPad, and iPhone lineup all use recycled material across key components. We will continue to work with parliament and the government to document Apple’s industry-leading commitments and to support our common effort to leave a clean economy and a healthy planet for the next generation.

Apple elaborated on many of its environmental efforts in a letter that it submitted to the Committee in September, including increased use of recycled materials in its products and running its operations on 100 percent renewable energy.

The Committee said the current business model for electronics is “reliant on continuous consumption, a throwaway culture and short-lived products,” and called on technology companies to “take the lead in creating sustainable and environmentally-friendly business models that do not rely on exploitation of nature.”

The Committee also said it was “disappointed” with Apple’s “limited level of engagement” with the inquiry, including its failure to appear before British lawmakers.

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