Just in time for Earth Day, Apple has unveiled a new recycling robot — and it can disassemble 200 iPhones in a single hour. Daisy can successfully extract parts from nine types of iPhones — and for every 100,000 devices it can salvage 1,900 kg of aluminum, 770 kg of cobalt, 710 kg of copper and 11 kg of rare earth elements. The robot represents a major step forward in Apple’s mission to someday build its devices entirely from recycled materials.
“We created Daisy to have a smaller footprint and the capability to disassemble multiple models of iPhones with higher variation compared to Liam” — an earlier iteration of the company’s recycling robotics — Apple said in its 2018 Environmental Responsibility Report. Ultimately, Apple hopes to develop a closed-loop production system in which every reusable part of older devices is utilized in new ones.
“To meet our goal, we must use 100 percent, responsibly sourced, recycled or renewable materials and ensure the equivalent amount is returned to market,” Apple said in its report. “Recognizing that this goal could take many years to reach, we remain committed to responsible sourcing of primary materials as we make the transition.” Though Apple has yet to release a timeline for its full transition, it has started active projects to recycle rare earth metals, paper products and more common metals from its supply chain.
Apple plans to add Daisy robots to several locations throughout the United States and Europe. Because the company is currently only able to incorporate used devices that it receives directly, Apple will emphasize its GiveBack program, in part by offering company credit for returned devices. Thanks to its recycling initiatives, Apple has already reduced its primary aluminum consumption by 23 to 25 percent since 2015.
Despite the company’s initial success, some observers have advocated for more fundamental changes in Apple’s model. Greenpeace USA senior IT sector analyst Gary Cook said, “Rather than another recycling robot, what is most needed from Apple is an indication that the company is embracing one of the greatest opportunities to reduce its environmental impact: repairable and upgradeable product design.”
Via Business Green
Images via Apple