Apple Switching to Environmentally Friendly Halogen-Free Cables

BY Yatri

Published 14 Jan 2012

iPhone Dock Cable

Volex, maker of Apple’s USB and charging cables, is taking a hit of $6 million. The money will be spent to rework cable production so that they will be halogen-free and more environmentally friendly.

Apple has pushed its cable manufacturer, Volex, to make its cables more environmentally friendly. The London Evening Standard reports:

Apple is the biggest customer of Volex, 23%-owned by billionaire financier Nat Rothschild, which makes the power cables and USB leads used in everything from laptops to iPhones and iPads.

But the US firm is on a drive to move its products towards halogen-free power cables, which are less harmful to the environment when disposed of.

The start-up costs in designing and making the new cables will cost it up to $6 million in the current financial year, Volex said today, although, stripping out these one-off costs, profits will be in line with market expectation.

Volex is a pretty big player in power cables, and they also make fiber optic cables for telecom companies. Halogen-based plastics are typically used as flame retardants as well as in other applications. Halogens are toxic as gas vapors and can condense into caustic acids after coming into contact with water, making them very hazardous to the environment and difficult to dispose off properly.

While Apple has received major criticism in the past regarding its environmental practices, they’ve been working hard over the past few years. In 2009, they launched a section of their website concerning their environmental footprint, shortly after launching their redesigned, “greener” unibody aluminum MacBooks.

This push on Volex follows Apple’s 2012 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which featured a major increase in auditing for adherence to environmental policies among other things.

[via London Evening Standard]