There are around one billion Apple devices in use, and with that comes “significant responsibility,” according to Apple CEO Tim Cook. That’s why Apple just unveiled Liam, a robot that quickly and efficiently disassembles old iPhones so that their components can be reused for other products (like solar panels). Apple’s VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson unveiled Liam and announced plans to relaunch Apple’s recycling initiative during today’s keynote presentation.
“We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it,” Apple says on their website, and executives backed that up today with evidence of steps they’ve taken to minimize their carbon footprint.
Lisa Jackson covered Apple’s environmental impact, sharing ways in which the massive company has maintained responsibility towards the planet. Two years ago they set the goal to use 100 percent renewable energy in all their stores and facilities, and in the United States and 23 other countries, they’ve reached that goal. Elsewhere in the world, 93 percent of facilities are powered by renewable energy, and they have plans in place to raise that number. Apple is currently at work on a 40 megawatt solar farm on a Chinese yak farm, and will be installing rooftop solar panels on their Singapore buildings.
Possibly the most impressive technological innovation, however, is Liam. Liam is a robot that painstakingly takes apart old iPhones, removing each component and extracting metals like lithium, so that the parts can be reused and your phone “can live on.” Liam allows the company to conserve resources and keeps components out of landfills.
Apple also uses recycled paper in 99 percent of their products, or paper which comes from “sustainably managed forests,” and they’re partnering with the Conservation Fund to protect forests, including one million acres in China.
The company is relaunching their recycling program, now called Apple Renew. Users can send in old devices, and Apple will provide a prepaid package label to send them in, minimizing hassle. If the device still has any value, users will get that back in a gift card, if not, they can leave knowing they did their part to recycle devices that have traditionally been hard to dispose of responsibly. “With Apple Renew you can recycle your devices in a way that’s safe for your devices and safe for the planet,” said Jackson.
“Every time you send an iMessage, ask Siri a question, or make a FaceTime call, you can feel good about your impact on the environment,” said Jackson.