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Apple recycled $40 million worth of gold last year

Apple said it managed to recover 2,204 pounds of gold from recycled iPhones, iPads and Macs last year. The figure was released inside Apple’s annual environmental report in which it explains its impact on the environment and how it gives back to the world.
In total, over 90 million pounds worth of old and unwanted products were processed and stripped down by Apple. Around two thirds of the remains, a healthy 60 million pounds, were saved to be reused later down the line.
The pile included 23 million pounds of steel, 13 million pounds of plastic, 12 million pounds of glass, 4.5 million pounds of aluminium, 3 million pounds of copper and 6,600 pounds of silver. Compared with the rest, gold is almost negligible. Its high market value makes it a major contributor to the money raised by the recycling program though.
Apple customers can now hand their old devices into any Apple Store for free. The company will recycle any of its products as part of Apple Renew, breaking them down and extracting valuable components for future reuse. Electronics contain relatively high amounts of precious metals and scarce natural resources so recycling programs help to ensure the current rate of device consumerism can continue into the future.
“We work hard to keep electronic devices out of landfills so that the precious resources they contain can be reused,” said Apple in its 2016 environment responsibility report. “We want to ensure that these devices are recycled properly so they don’t pose a threat to human health or the environment. That’s why we’ve developed recycling collection events, take-back initiatives, and efforts like Apple Renew, a global program that lets you bring used Apple devices to any Apple Store for reuse or responsible recycling.”
In March, Apple unveiled a prototype recycling robot, Liam. Liam is able to dismantle over 1.2 million iPhones each year, systematically reversing the build process, sorting out components and arranging metals for recycling. Apple is currently testing Liam at its facilities in California and the Netherlands.
Apple recently admitted that it designs an iPhone for a three year lifecycle. It attracted criticism for appearing to build its products with the intention of customers buying a new one after just a few years’ use.
Recycling schemes like Apple Renew help to mitigate the environmental impact this consumerism is having. Apple said it has kept over 597 million pounds of electronics out of landfills since 1994. It is now working with over 160 recycling facilities worldwide to extend the useful life of its products past the time they spend in an owner’s hand.

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