Apple revamps packaging for its watch in sustainability drive

USA – American multinational technology company, Apple has designed downsized, fiber-based, label-free packaging for its new Apple Watch line and is set to increase its delivery via ‘low-carbon’ transportation.

According to the company, this move is in line with its commitment to phase out plastics and decarbonize its operations by 2025 and 2030, respectively.

Apple says that over 96% of its overall product packaging is made from recycled and responsibly sourced wood fiber.

It has partnered with The Conservation Fund and WWF in a bid to optimize the management of over one million acres of working forests in the US and China; these are said to have generated enough responsibly sourced fiber to match the new wood fiber used in Apple packaging last year.

Components such as trays, plastic wrap, and foam cushioning have also been redesigned with the aim of improving their recyclability, as their new fiber-based materials are said to break down in mixed-paper recycling streams.

Upon the announcement of the new Apple Watch lineup – claiming to be the company’s first carbon-neutral products and offer individual emission reductions of 75% through their design and use of clean energy – Apple has revealed that its packaging will be made entirely from fiber. So, too, is the packaging for its iPhone 15 model said to be over 99% fiber-based.

Both developments are expected to bring the company closer to its goal of achieving plastic-free packaging by 2023.

Nevertheless, it clarifies that its US retail packaging is broken down by weight, and adhesives, inks, and coatings are excluded from the calculation of both packaging weight and plastic content.

In further efforts to reduce both plastic waste and emissions, Apple has developed a custom, high-resolution printer that can print directly onto the back of its boxes.

Negating the need to attach labels to product packaging hopes to avoid over 300 metric tonnes of plastic and 3700 metric tonnes of carbon emissions.

In addition, traditional methods of plastic lamination will be replaced with a new overprint varnish said to improve a pack’s recyclability without compromising its aesthetic or sensory quality – a transition that reportedly led to over 1100 metric tons of plastic being avoided in 2022.

At least 50% of the combined weight of its new Apple Watch models, including watches and bands, are set to be shipped from factories using non-air modes of transportation like ocean freight. In turn, the development is anticipated to almost halve the total emissions of products in transit.

New, more compact packaging has also been designed for all Apple Watch Series 9 and SE models. It is anticipated that the smaller shape will enable a 25% increase in devices per shipment and reduce the number of delivery vehicles on the road.

Aiming to become carbon neutral across every product by 2030, Apple says that its global corporate operations have been carbon neutral since 2020.

Its Apple 2030 strategy draws upon the science-based target of ending the decade with a 75% reduction in emissions.

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