In early September, Apple released its two most updated smartphone models: the iPhone 7 and the iPhone 7 Plus. The phones have improved features, including extended battery life, brighter display and louder speaker system. Consumers can also choose from sleek finishes such as rose gold and jet black.

Shoppers tend to base their smartphone purchase on the product's looks and high-tech capabilities. However, some companies are making eco-friendly updates to smartphone components and packaging materials. Read on to learn about some of the ways Apple is putting the environment first with its green programs and iPhone 7 models.

Developing safer and greener electronics

Apple has been working to remove hazardous materials from its electronics for years. The company works with more than 150 recycling facilities worldwide and collected almost 90 million pounds of electronic waste through its recycling efforts this past year. Its 2016 Environmental Responsibility Report explains how the company recently studied chemicals in more than 10,000 product components with the help of Apple's Green Chemistry Advisory Board. The board consists of leading researchers and toxicologists from across the globe who assist in detecting mercury, arsenic, lead and PVC.

In addition to eliminating pollutants from its products, the company is encouraging consumers to recycle Apple devices through the Apple Renew program. No matter whether customers own an iPad, iPhone, MacBook or any other Apple device, they have the option to discard at a nearby Apple Store.

Green iPhone 7 features

The iPhone 7 models are a solid representation of Apple's ongoing progress in providing safer products and contributing to a sustainable future. As noted in the company's iPhone7 tech specs, the product is free of arsenic, mercury, brominated flame retardants and PVC. Specifically, all Apple products have had mercury-free display screens since 2009. Rather than implementing a mercury-based fluorescent light into its electronics, Apple opts for LEDs that are energy efficient.

Before your next smartphone upgrade, research the device's green qualities and make sure they align with your personal green values. And if you do decide to upgrade your phone, be sure you recycle your old one!

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