The iPad maker this week announced a "major expansion of its recycling programs" and showed to the world its iPhone eating robot called Daisy located at its Material Recovery Lab in Austin, Texas. This lab would focus on trying to find solutions to today's industry recycling challenges.
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.
The robot, christened Daisy, dismantles 1.2m iPhones each year in an effort to retrieve 14 valuable metals and materials, including gold, cobalt, aluminium and tin, some of which are now being reintroduced to Apple's production lines.
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More than 7.8m Apple devices were refurbished in 2018, which would have been put up for resale on the company's website. The facility is dedicated to discovering future recycling processes.
In order to promote circular economy, Jackson said Apple is working with a number of partners including the China Association of Circular Economy to enable the movement of material in a way that not only "protects the environment, protects innovation, but also moves us forward in reusing materials". Cobalt is used for Apple device batteries, while aluminum makes up the body and casing of most Apple devices.
They are then 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. And Apple's well-built devices prove less wasteful in the long run. The number of Apple Stores and network of Authorized Service Providers has grown to over 5,000 worldwide. The smartphone will be powered by the next-generation Apple A13 SoC, which is also expected to fuel the upcoming iPhone series, speculated to launch in the fourth quarter of 2019. The company will be celebrating Earth Day on April 22 with environmentally themed Today at Apple® sessions at all Apple Stores, and will be featuring original stories and collections of apps and games on the App Store® to help people honor the Earth and consider their role in the natural ecosystem. So simply repackaging an iPhone 8 may not be a good idea for Apple to pursue.