New MacBook Air and Mac mini are first with enclosures produced from 100-percent recycled ...

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited October 2018
Apple is continuing to push forward in its attempts to improve the environment by making the 2018 MacBook Air and the 2018 Mac mini the first Macs to have a casing produced completely from recycled aluminum.

Apple's Laura Lagrove announces the use of 100 percent recycled aluminum in the MacBook Air and Mac Mini
Apple's Laura Lagrove announces the use of 100 percent recycled aluminum in the MacBook Air and Mac Mini


Announced during its Tuesday special event, the unveiling of the new MacBook Air featured the change in material as one of a number of other improvements to the notebook's design that makes it the most environmentally friendly Mac ever. Not long after, the announcement of a new Mac mini revealed it, too, would use recycled aluminum in its construction.

Earlier MacBooks relied on new ore for the production of the unibody casing. Apple's metallurgy team created a new alloy that allowed for the use of recycled aluminum, and without requiring the introduction of new ore. The new process uses fine shavings of recaptured aluminum, partly acquired as excess material from the production of other parts and devices like iPad Pro, with the shavings refined to the atomic level for the new enclosures.

The process is also more environmentally sound and reduces the carbon footprint for the alloy's creation by 50 percent compared to the previous process.

The unibody alloy is not the only environmentally friendly change made to the MacBook Air. The new model also uses 100 percent recycled tin in the logic board, and 35 percent post consumer recycled plastic in other components, including the speakers.

AppleInsider will be at the fall "There's more in the making" event, where we expect new iPad Pros, and maybe even new Macs! Keep up with our coverage by downloading the AppleInsider app for iOS, and follow us on YouTube, Twitter @appleinsider and Facebook for live, late-breaking coverage. You can also check out our official Instagram account for exclusive photos.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Sweet!
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Many activists would not buy if it was not recycled. I could see this.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    fastasleepfastasleep Posts: 2,541member
    Many activists would not buy if it was not recycled. I could see this.
    Citation needed. 
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Great hi Apple.
  • Reply 5 of 17
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Isn't aluminum the most common metal in the Earth's crust? So common we make cooking foil and drink cans out of it? 

    So not exactly the most urgent thing to recycle, but a step forward nonetheless and better than wasting it.
  • Reply 6 of 17
    ascii said:
    Isn't aluminum the most common metal in the Earth's crust? So common we make cooking foil and drink cans out of it? 

    So not exactly the most urgent thing to recycle, but a step forward nonetheless and better than wasting it.
    Just wait until we see the new Mac Pro with a case made of recycled banana peels.
  • Reply 7 of 17
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 4,556member
    ascii said:
    Isn't aluminum the most common metal in the Earth's crust? So common we make cooking foil and drink cans out of it? 

    So not exactly the most urgent thing to recycle, but a step forward nonetheless and better than wasting it.
    Just wait until we see the new Mac Pro with a case made of recycled banana peels.
    Nope, based on what usually happens around here, the whole unit will be made from a single pressed sheet of broken dreams.
    fastasleepMike Wuertheletht
  • Reply 8 of 17
    tmaytmay Posts: 3,559member
    ascii said:
    Isn't aluminum the most common metal in the Earth's crust? So common we make cooking foil and drink cans out of it? 

    So not exactly the most urgent thing to recycle, but a step forward nonetheless and better than wasting it.
    My recollection is that recycled aluminum requires about 5% of the energy of aluminum from bauxite (aluminum oxide). 
    chasm
  • Reply 9 of 17
    aknabiaknabi Posts: 148member
    I'm surprised with all the times they mentioned recycled aluminum they wouldn't have had Ive doing the voice over on these... he loves any opportunity to say "allluuuuu-meee-niii-ummm"
  • Reply 10 of 17
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,678member
    ascii said:
    Isn't aluminum the most common metal in the Earth's crust? So common we make cooking foil and drink cans out of it? 

    So not exactly the most urgent thing to recycle, but a step forward nonetheless and better than wasting it.
    I don't think the recycling push is because it's a resource we're running out of, but one that requires a lot of energy to refine. Doesn't it also have a long history of being mined by people that are virtually slaves and with a lot of bad health related issues from mining.


    edit: So it's the 3rd most common element in the crust at 7% (the most common metal, as you stated), but we get it from Bauxite, which looks to be only contain about 15–25% aluminum. To me, it seems like a good move to recycle it… even if I was scratching my head at why the attendees were that overjoyed by so much about it during the event.

    edited October 2018
  • Reply 11 of 17
    The new process uses fine shavings of recaptured aluminum, partly acquired as excess material from the production of other parts”.

    My understanding from the Keynote was that they used iPad shavings.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 802member
    As a conservative I prefer that we waste resources.
  • Reply 13 of 17
    chasmchasm Posts: 1,266member
    In addition to being a smart move environmentally, this has got to help keep the cost down (once the R&D that made this possible is paid for, I mean). The new iPads helping to produce the leftover aluminum that helps make these new Macs is ... ironic? Schadenfreude? Something. Not sure what. :)

    As for why work to conserve a resource we're in no danger of running out of ... there's aluminium and then there's industrial-grade aluminium. Same material but very different in its properties and strength. Less energy to make, likely to be a lot cheaper to make, just as good (for these purposes) ... why not do it?
  • Reply 14 of 17
    ascii said:
    Isn't aluminum the most common metal in the Earth's crust? So common we make cooking foil and drink cans out of it? 

    So not exactly the most urgent thing to recycle, but a step forward nonetheless and better than wasting it.
    Almost all aluminum in the earth's crust is found in bauxite, and removing the metal from it used to be so energy intensive that aluminum was worth more per unit weight than gold. The Bayer process (1888) made extraction less expensive, but still energy-intensive. It still takes somewhere between 63 and 95 KWh to produce 1 kilogram of aluminum, however. Probably much cheaper to make the shells for MacBook Airs and Mac minis out of old iPhones and Macs.
    Soli
  • Reply 15 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    ascii said:
    Isn't aluminum the most common metal in the Earth's crust? So common we make cooking foil and drink cans out of it? 

    So not exactly the most urgent thing to recycle, but a step forward nonetheless and better than wasting it.
    That is a good question, I actually thought iron was!

    Apple is actually being very misleading here as aluminum has always been recycled.   In fact I’m not sure if the foundries even bother to indicate the percentage of recycled material in the melt.  The reason Aluminum is so highly recycled actually has nothing to do with the environment but rather costs   Producing Aluminum from raw ore is very expensive compared to reprocessing scrap aluminum.  For some materials like glass recycling doesn’t always make sense.  

    In any event this has the feel of Apple embracing a common practice to appease a few nut cases.  Recycling is good, I just don’t see much to impress in Apples comments here.    

    I might point out out that I worked in a zinc die wet foundry 3.5 decades ago and everything got recycled back then.  If the condition of the alloy was good and known it went back into the pot.   If it wasn’t good it went back to the smelters.  Pretty much standard industry practice many years ago.  Aluminum foundries ran the same way as we had a large number of employees from a closed down facility.  I’m not sure what Apple is up to with this claim, I don’t want to call it bogus but this is not something new.  
    edited October 2018
  • Reply 16 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    hentaiboy said:
    “The new process uses fine shavings of recaptured aluminum, partly acquired as excess material from the production of other parts”.

    My understanding from the Keynote was that they used iPad shavings.
    The problem is this has been done in industry since forever.   Mind you I’m talking several decades ago but still the same idea was practiced.   It wasn’t uncommon to see gates, trimmings, rejects and whatever remember and recast within hours sometimes minutes too be cast into something different.  Often the so-called recycled material is used for a different companies parts.  

    I really dont don’t have much confidence in what Apple is saying here.   They may have created a new  alloy but that has very little to do with recycling as they described.  
  • Reply 17 of 17
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,719member
    tyler82 said:
    As a conservative I prefer that we waste resources.
    That is total nonsense!!!!   Work with a tight wad conservative and you will quickly realize that waste is not tolerated at all.  
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