How Green Is the iPhone?

Given that Apple has sold more than 100 million iPhones (and, with a market that's hungry for more and more tiny pocket computers, the giant shows no signs of slowing down), the folks at Geekaphone decided to conduct a study to see how green the phone is. Some of the most striking details from this infographic assembled by Geekaphone, a team in Canada that's "interested in all the little details, from industry happenings to new ... entrants into the market:"

  • 300,000 workers in China earn less than $10 a day assembling iPhones.
  • iPhones purchased in 2010 contributed to 2350 million kg of CO2 being released into the atmosphere: 57% production, 34% consumer use, 8% transportation, 1% recycling.
  • If all the iPhones sold in 2010 were charged once it would be equal to leaving a normal light bulb on for over 357 years.
  • Less than 10% of phones are recycled (42,300,000 trashed, 4,700,000 recycled) even though Apple offers free and environmentally sensitive recycling of its phones.
  • 130 million cellphones enter landfills each year; discarded cellphones account for 65k tons of toxic waste each year, which is equal to three small oil tankers.
  • The iPhone emits 1.19 w/kg SAR radiation: just under 2 1/2 times lower than the level causing behavioral changes in animals.
  • 49 workers at Lianjian technology in Taiwan were poisoned assembling the iPhones' touchscreens.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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