Apple has released its 2021 Environmental Progress Report, and they touted their use of recycled materials, carbon emissions reductions and the contentious issue of the chargers they excluded from iPhone packaging. Apple stopped shipping iPhones with AC adapters in the second half of 2020, citing environmental reasons. Critics say they did it to increase profits by forcing more people to buy the adapters.
Apple says that their decision to stop bundling chargers (AC adapters, as the Lightning cable is still included) with iPhones has saved 861,000 tons of metals such as copper, zinc, and tin. They also touted that the significant reduction in package size enabled them to ship 70% more iPhones in each shipping pallet. The new iPhone boxes are impressively tiny. However, every decision has its disadvantages.
This means that:
- First-time iPhone customers will have to purchase a new charger. This is an unwelcome, additional expense — albeit not a large one.
- Some people do actually need new chargers by the time they are ready to replace their phones (especially if their phones are several years old).
To be fair, Apple has stuck with the Lightning connector for 7+ years. This means that the charger you got with your old iPhone 5s will still be usable (whether it still works is another question). This enables people to reuse their cables (as they all had a Lightning end) for this time period.