Apple recently shared its 2019 Environmental Responsibility Report which details the progress the tech giant has made over the past year and alludes to what sustainable goals the company will be working towards in the years to come. The report release follows a string of electronic scrap related announcements that the company has made this year, including the announcement of a research lab tasked with studying new electronic recycling processes.
The new Austin, Texas-based 9,000-square-foot facility will “look for innovative solutions involving robotics and machine learning to improve on traditional methods like targeted disassembly, sorting and shredding.” Apple reports that the lab will work with Apple engineering teams as well as academia to address and propose solutions to today’s industry recycling challenges.
Apple SVP, Lisa Jack, comments, “At Apple, it’s simple. We apply the same level of innovation that goes into everything we create, design, power and manufacture to make things better for people and the planet. And we make it simple for customers and partners who share our passion to join us in this work. In a time where the threats facing our planet are too great to ignore, we are demonstrating that businesses must play a vital role. We are proud to do the hard work, to make the breakthrough, and a tirelessly search for ways to ensure a better future for our planet that we all deserve.”
Additionally, the company said that the last year it further developed its iPhone recycling robot, called Daisy, by giving it the ability to process six additionally iPhone models. The robot can now disassemble 15 iPhone models, and it can process 200 devices per hour. Apple says this equates to each robot processing 1.2 million devices per year.
Other recycling takeaways from the report include:
- Apple recycled more than 52,000 short tons of e-scrap in 2018 and refurbished 7.8 million devices.
- The company began using recycled cobalt sourced from iPhone batteries that were removed by Daisy.
- The company introduced 82 product components that together used an average of 38 percent recycled plastic.
- Daisy recovers small iPhone components that contain rare earth elements.