APPLE HAS SAID IT PLANS to stop using mined products in its devices in the years to come, and instead use renewable resources and recycled material to build its products.
The iPhone maker is investigating how it can make its devices from 100 per cent recycled materials, after receiving stinging criticism of the way that it currently mines for materials; particularly the use of young children to carry out some of the work, and the areas in which they're forced to do so:.
The Cupertino-based company said in its annual environmental report that although it "sounded crazy" to stop mining the earth altogether, it is working on it.
"We're moving towards a closed-loop supply chain. One day we'd like to be able to build new products with just recycled materials, including your old products," it said.
Currently, only a minority of the materials the company uses are recycled. As part of its research, the company wanted to ensure it could find ways of using recycled aluminium, tin and cobalt.It found that one of the best sources of recycled aluminium was from its own products and processes, while for tin, it could use an existing market supply of recycled tin that meets its quality standards. The company is still looking at ways it can recover cobalt from its lithium-ion batteries and recycled cobalt.
Last year, the company launched Liam, a line of robots that can disassemble iPhone 6, sorting its components.
"With two Liam lines up and running, we can take apart up to 2.4 million phones a year. It's an experiment in recycling technology that's teaching us a lot," the iPhone maker said.
In the report, Apple claimed that for every 100,000 iPhone 6 devices, Liam has the potential to recover 1900kg of aluminium, 800kg of copper, 0.3kg of gold, 0.4kg of platinum group metals, 7kg of silver, 55kg of tin, 550kg of Cobalt, 24kg of ‘rare earth elements', 3.5kg of Tungsten and 2.5kg of Tantalum. µ
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