Apple announced today that it’s quadrupled the number of locations in the United States where customers can send their iPhone for recycling. Additionally, Apple’s opened a new facility in Austin, Texas dedicated to discovering future recycling processes.
The new 9,000-square-foot facility, dubbed Material Recovery Lab, will tap into robotics and machine learning to optimize targeted disassembly, sorting and shredding.
The company notes that the facility will work with its engineering teams, as well as academia, to address and propose solutions to today’s industry recycling challenges. The Cupertino company continues to invest in large machinery typically used at e-waste recycling facilities.
Daisy, Apple’s disassembly robot, can take apart iPhones to recover cobalt, aluminum and tin which are then recycled back into the manufacturing process. She can disassemble 15 different iPhone models at the rate of 200 per hour, Apple said, or 1.2 million devices per year.
For cobalt, a key battery material, Apple sends iPhone batteries recovered by Daisy upstream in its supply chain. They are combined with scrap from select manufacturing sites and, for the first time, cobalt recovered through this process is now being used to make brand-new Apple batteries—a true closed loop for this precious material.
Apple also uses hundred percent recycled tin in a key component of the main logic boards of eleven different products.
It’s unknown how many Daisies Apple currently operates.
Daisy will recycle select used iPhones returned to Best Buy stores throughout the US and KPN retailers in the Netherlands. Like before, you can turn in your eligible devices to be recycled at any Apple Store or through apple.com as part of the Apple’s trade-in initiative.
Starting later this year, Apple will remelt aluminum recovered through trade-ins into the enclosures for the new Air and mini, the first Macs made with 100 percent recycled aluminum.
The company’s custom 6000 Series alloy is made with shavings of recaptured aluminum that are “re-engineered down to the atomic level.” Thanks to this 100 percent recycled aluminum, the new Air and mini have nearly half the carbon footprint of earlier models.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives”
Advanced recycling must become an important part of the electronics supply chain, and Apple is pioneering a new path to help push our industry forward. We work hard to design products that our customers can rely on for a long time.
When it comes time to recycle them, we hope that the convenience and benefit of our programmes will encourage everyone to bring in their old devices.
Lastly, Apple fed us some interesting data points.
So far, the company has received nearly a million devices through its recycling programs. Last year, it refurbished more than 7.8 million company devices and helped divert more than 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from landfills.