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Apple recovers $40 million worth of gold from old iPhones, 5400 tonnes of glass

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How many of you remember Liam? One of the few interesting highlights from Apple’s May event was a facility build by Apple for the recovery of material from old iPhones. Liam was the name of the robot that did the actual disassembly.



It turns out that last year, Apple’s recovery efforts managed to extract about 41,000 tonnes of material from old iPhones. Over 27,000 tonnes of the material is reported to be reusable and includes steel, plastics, glass, copper and gold.


BusinessInsider reports that the value of Gold that Apple’s managed to extract from the recovery process is in excess of $40 million, while recovered copper exceeds $6 million in value.

Bear in mind that traditional gold recovery processes are actually expensive and the margin from that recovered gold would be very small. For Apple, the actual monetary value of the recovered materials might not mean much, but one can at least appreciate the sentiment behind it.

A report from TheVerge adds that the average smartphone contains only 30mg of gold. Considering that Apple recovered approximately 1 tonne of gold, the sheer quantity of iPhones disassembled boggles the mind.

Here’s to hoping that other companies soon follow suit!

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