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Apple Announces Expansion to its Recycling Program

Apple today has announced a major expansion of their recycling program efforts. The company has quadrupled the number of locations where iPhones can be disassembled and their parts recycled by their recycling robot, Daisy. US customers can already take their phone to any Apple store as well as go through a step-by-step process on to return phones. Now US customers can take a phone to Best Buy and they will get it to Apple for recycling. For customers in the Netherlands, you can go to a KPN location to do the same.

“Advanced recycling must become an important part of the electronics supply chain, and Apple is pioneering a new path to help push our industry forward,” said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives. “We work hard to design products that our customers can rely on for a long time. When it comes time to recycle them, we hope that the convenience and benefit of our programs will encourage everyone to bring in their old devices.”

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Apple’s recycling robot Daisy has also grown up. It can now disassemble 15 different iPhone models and can do so at the rate of 200 per hour. It is able to recover more important materials than before, which can be reused in new iPhones. Apple points to cobalt, a key material in batteries, as being such a material. It can be removed by Daisy, then sent upstream in Apple’s supply chain. The cobalt is then revered and use to make new batteries in a closed-loop process.

To further its research on recycling, Apple today also announced the opening of its Material Recovery Lab dedicated to discovering future recycling processes. The new 9,000-square-foot facility in Austin, Texas, will look for innovative solutions involving robotics and machine learning to improve on traditional methods like targeted disassembly, sorting and shredding. The Lab will work with Apple engineering teams as well as academia to address and propose solutions to today’s industry recycling challenges. 

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Apple has also highlighted in the report the expansion of Apple authorized service providers, up to 5,000 now. Those providers have a new simplified screen repairing process and, of course, has the battery replacement program. Both of these are aimed to allow iPhones to last longer – and not end up in a landfill.

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