Apple's recycling robot hungry for more defunct devices

Alonzo Simpson
April 20, 2019

Apple expanded its recycling programmes, quadrupling the number of locations U.S. customers can send their iPhone to be disassembled by Daisy, its recycling robot.

The company is quadrupling the number of drop-off recycling locations across the country. Customers can also turn in their eligible devices to be recycled at any Apple Store or through apple.com as part of the Apple Trade In programme. Daisy can take apart 1.2 million used iPhones per year, or 200 phones per hour, and recover the reusable parts.

Previous year for Earth Day, Apple took the wraps off of Daisy, a recycling robot that replaced Liam, an iPhone disassembly robot first introduced to the world in 2016.

Apple is opening a Material Recovery Lab dedicated to "discovering future recycling processes" in Austin, Texas.

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For more information on Apple's environmental efforts, you can check out the company's 2019 Environmental Responsibility Report (.pdf), out today. Apple engineers will work with academics to find recycling solutions.

Among them, "the majority of that clean supply chain, clean energy suppliers are in China in terms of both attaining the clean energy goal and cooperation in the use of safer materials and smarter chemistry", Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, told Xinhua at a recent event promoting the company's environment initiative. "We work hard to design products that our customers can rely on for a long time". Once materials have been recovered from Daisy, they are recycled back into the manufacturing process. Cobalt is used for Apple device batteries, while aluminum makes up the body and casing of most Apple devices. The number of Apple Stores and network of Authorized Service Providers has grown to over 5,000 worldwide.

Apple uses 100 percent recycled tin in a key component of the main logic boards of 11 different products.

While it does save money on Apple's end, the consumer can also expect that production of newer devices to be faster. So simply repackaging an iPhone 8 may not be a good idea for Apple to pursue. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV. If this will be the price for the new iPhone SE 2, we don't know how many buyers the new model will have, because the iPhone SE was one of the most preferred devices thanks to its agreeable price tag, especially in India.

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