nearly 20%. This is the percentage of recycled materials Apple says it will incorporate into its products in 2021. In a press release shared in anticipation of Earth Day 2022 this Friday, Cupertino states that this is the highest percentage achieved since the beginning of its efforts to recycle and reuse rare materials and metals.
This announcement is significant for Apple, which also claims to have been able to use recycled wire for the front and rear cameras of the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro, but also and above all recycled gold for the coating of the motherboard. In 2019, Apple announced a partnership with luxury jewelry company Tiffany & Co. to more responsibly mine gold, which is used in small amounts in its products. However, the California giant seems to be betting more and more on recycling these materials. And the numbers revealed explain why.
In 2016, The Verge notes that Apple, for example, managed to recover in just a year, the equivalent of $40 million in gold by recycling its products. Today, the group explains that by recovering the rare metals found in its electronic waste, it avoids extracting about 2,000 tons of metals in total (for gold and copper). For his part, Federico Magallini, an expert on electronic waste, who was interviewed by the American media in 2018, indicated that they exist. Gold can go up to 80 times In a ton of old cell phones compared to a ton of minerals extracted from a gold mine.
A number enough to motivate tech giants, including Apple, which is now why they’re running a new machine dedicated to recycling: the “Taz.” Notably used in the Austin Materials Recovery Laboratory that exploits “A Mill-Like Technology to Separate Magnets from Acoustic Units and Recover More Rare Earth Elements”.
This new machine is used in addition to other robots designed by Apple: Daisy, which has been in operation since 2018 to replace Liam, the brand’s first recycling robot. Daisy has been updated to disassemble no less than 23 different iPhone models. Just one of these bots can shred 1.2 million iPhones each year. Dave is the newest member of the family, and he specializes in taking apart the iPhone’s Taptic Engine.
With these various tools, Apple says it doubled the use of recycled tungsten, rare earth metals, and cobalt during fiscal 2021. It’s an interesting development that doesn’t forget the difficulties Apple has faced in reducing carbon emissions.