iGo Green: A Life Cycle Assessment of Apple’s iPhone

Rodriguez, E., Carrasquillo, O., Lee, C., Lee, J., Zhou, A. (2015). iGo Green: A Life Cycle Assessment of Apple’s iPhone. In iConference 2015 Proceedings. http://hdl.handle.net/2142/73760

Research Advisor: Randy Weinberg, Department of Information Systems, Carnegie Mellon University

Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions continue to rise as a result of growth in population and industrialization. Manufacturing of new products with shortened life cycles, like the iPhone, are a significant source of GHG emissions. To identify and analyze potential environmental impacts of the iPhone, a life cycle assessment (LCA) was completed. A survey of iPhone users was conducted to gain a deeper understanding of consumer behavior. As part of this research it has been found that Apple’s design of the iPhone used a strategy of planned obsolescence, resulting in a shorter life cycle, increased mining of rare earth minerals (REMs), higher rates of product turnover, and higher shipping costs and fuel usage. Surveyed iPhone users were largely unaware of Apple’s iPhone recycling program.

Published at iConference 2015