Apple Inc wants to recycle electronics differently to encourage the recovery and reuse of minerals. According to the company, It wants to use robot technology that can disassemble its phone. The California-based firm stated that there is an increased global demand for electronics, which means that the electronics industry would need more mines.
iPhone pursues an ambitious goal
iPhone reiterated that it is aiming to become a “closed-loop” firm with the ambition of relying less on the mining industry for its product materials. However, most industry experts have stated that the goal is a highly improbable one, knowing the importance of the mining industry to the manufacturing of electronics chips.
Many of them believe that the industry would need newly mined minerals because of the increased popularity and relevance of electric vehicles. According to them, the more recent focus on electric vehicles will result in an increased need for mining, a fact which Apple also acknowledges.
However, Apple’s head of environment, Lisa Jackson, said the company is not in competition with the mining sector. According to her, miners should have no worries about Apple’s stance on mining because Apple doesn’t intend to compete with miners or companies within the industry.
The company’s use of robots to recycle apple products and draw minerals is on a much smaller scale compared to what the mining industry is doing. Jackson stated that her company’s activities would not necessarily affect the mining sector in any way.
Apple poised to make a difference in the recycling sector
Last month, Apple purchased the first commercial sets of carbon-free aluminum in a joint venture between Alcoa and Rio Tinto. Apple has already assembled the Daisy robot that disassembles iPhones to extract 14 different minerals, including lithium.
Already, the company has started using recycled rare earth, cobalt, s well as tin to make some of its products.
The Daisy robot is no more than 20 yards long. It utilizes a 4-step approach to disassemble the batteries from the iPhones with a steady air heat of 80 degrees Celsius. Afterward, it draws out the modules and screws from the phone.
After disassembling the components, they are delivered to recyclers to extract and refine the minerals. The operational capacity of the robot is an interesting one. It can disassemble about 20 iPhones within one hour, according to Jackson.
She also stated that the large popularity of the iPhone is the reason why the company chose the phone as its first batch of phones to be recycled by the Daisy robot.
Apple open to partnership
Apple does not want to be stingy with its resources. The electronics giant said it’s open to partnership and sharing the technology with others within the electronics and car industry.
Some critics of the development said the company should have focused more on using Daisy to for more repairs, rather than just being recycled. CEO of Ifixit, Kyle Weins, said some people still think there are ways to get all their minerals back when they recycle them. According to him, this is not possible in the tech world.
He, therefore, advocated for a technology that would not focus only on recycling but more on repairs. According to him, it’s more ideal to look for more avenues to get repairs than offering a replacement.