Intel, Apple Tout Circular, Carbon-Free Manufacturing
Two of the most influential companies in producing the guts of information technology — the chips and gadgets underlying the digital economy and cloud services — are touting advances that are transforming their traditional production processes.
The progress made by Intel relates to its decades of operational focus on reducing waste across its manufacturing operations: since the mid-1990s, it has increased its recycling rate from 25 percent to 90 percent. Since 2015 alone, it has increased the percentage of waste reused and recovered by 275 percent across the company, according to a recently published white paper (PDF) on the topic.
One of Intel’s latest manufacturing innovations, one that introduces true circularity into the process, centers on how it handles sulfuric acid waste from cleaning. The company began collecting the substance at its Octotillo, Arizona, site in 2017. Last year, it began sending the acid waste to an offsite facility where it is reprocessed to technical grade in quality. Some of that material is then re-sent back to its operations in Arizona and New Mexico, where it can be used in wastewater treatment.