Apple Inc. is trying to change the way electronics are recycled with a robot that disassembles its iPhone so that minerals can be recovered and reused while acknowledging rising global demand for electronics means new mines will still be needed.
The Cupertino, California-based company says the robot is part of its plan to become a “closed-loop” manufacturer that does not rely on the mining industry, an aggressive goal that some industry analysts have said is impossible, Reuters reported.
Inside a nondescript warehouse on the outskirts of Austin, Texas, Apple’s Daisy robot breaks apart iPhones so that 14 minerals, including lithium, can be extracted and recycled.
According to Reuters, Apple is already using recycled tin, cobalt and rare earth in some of its products, with plans to add to that list. The components are then sent off to recyclers for the minerals to be extracted and refined. Daisy can tear apart 200 iPhones per hour. Apple chose the iPhone to be the first of its products that Daisy would disassemble because of its mass popularity, said Jackson.
It was reported that Apple is considering sharing the Daisy technology with others, including electric automakers. Daisy does have its skeptics, including some in the tech world who want the company to focus more on building products that can be repaired, not just recycled.