Just eight years ago, Greenpeace released its first report card entitled “Guide to Greener Electronics.” In this report, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) received a 2.7 rating out of an available eight, which was explained as Apple “scores badly on almost all criteria.” As the company and the world celebrate Earth Day today, Apple has flipped that on its head and is receiving near-perfect marks from the organization.

apple earth day

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s data centers are nearly 100% powered by renewable energy and the company is moving on to its retail locations. While the company still has a long way to go in order to reduce its footprint, it is moving in the right direction. Manufacturing and shipping make up the dirtiest, albeit necessary, carbon footprint for the company. While Apple is working in that direction, let’s take a look at what else the company is up to today as it celebrates Earth Day.

Apple’s iOS device recycling

Today, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced that it would allow customers to recycle iPhones and iPads with the company and receive gift cards in exchange. Previously, iPhone trade-ins would only get you credit on a new iPhone – that is no longer the case. Simply go online and answer questions about the device and Apple will send you a shipping label and packaging materials. Once the company receives the device it will release gift cards to customers within a month. If your device is too old to trade-in, simply go to the closest Apple store and the company will recycle your device free of charge. The company also plans to allow customers to recycle other companies’ products for free on a couple of occasions this year.

Feel-good print ad digs at Samsung

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) released a video yesterday narrated by Tim Cook entitled “Better” in which the CEO explains Apple’s environmental initiatives. Today, saw a “feel good” Earth Day print ad in papers across the country in which it takes a loosely veiled jab at Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) despite the “feel good” ad. Still embroiled in a bitter patent fight with Samsung, Apple’s ad reads, “There are some ideas we want every company to copy.”

Jack Johnson and water bottles

Yesterday, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) retail locations featured the company’s logo replete with a green leaf on its iconic apple to remind people about the company’s environmental record. Each campus and retail employee was also given a reusable water bottle that the company said would help its employees do their part. In its message to employees, Apple says that 16,420 plastic bottles can be saved through reusable water bottle use, and Apple employees alone can save 22 tons of plastic waste per year (that’s 44,000 pounds) using a reusable water bottle.

So far only Cupertino employees have received theirs while retail employees will have to wait. Don’t feel too bad for the retail employees. The Cupertino campus employees were forced to listen to a performance from singer Jack Johnson. Not having to listen to that, in my opinion, is a fair trade for the wait.