aluminum can recycling
A patent shows Apple incorporated aluminum made from UBCs in the design of a laptop computer.
Photo provided by Dreamstime.

Apple patent describes recycled-content aluminum it used

Aluminum-clad MacBooks used material made with melted UBCs layered with a custom alloy.

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March 31, 2021

A patent applied for by electronics maker Apple shows it used recycled-content aluminum made with used beverage cans (UBCs) layered with another aluminum alloy to create the all-aluminum cladding it offers for some of its MacBook laptop computers.

An article on the PatentlyApple.com website was posted by a writer who studied two recently published United States Patent and Trademark Office patents pertaining to the metals used in the MacBook Air computers.

One of the two patents focuses on a heat-treating process, according to PatentlyApple, while the other is titled “Cosmetic Aluminum Alloys made from Recycled Aluminum Scrap.”

That second patent indicates UBC-content can sheet was used as a substrate in the MacBook cladding. The substrate was then layered over with a custom-designed alloy consisting of aluminum and several other metals.

According to writer Jack Purcher, the visible or surface alloy consists of material including aluminum alloys “made from market scrap” plus copper, manganese, chromium, zinc, iron, titanium, silicon, magnesium and “additional nonaluminum elements.”

The online article also includes drawings submitted in the patent process.