Apple Adds ‘Daisy’ To Its E-Waste Management Innovations
Apple is continuing its course to implement green processes in manufacturing and retail. As a symbolic move ahead of Earth Day, the tech giant launched Daisy, a new recycling robot that can disassemble iPhones to recover valuable materials.
Daisy is a successor to 2016’s Liam, developed by Apple in-house engineers. The robot can take apart 9 different iPhone models and sort the high-quality component from the old smartphones. And Daisy does this fast: in one hour she can dismantle a total of 200 iPhones without damaging the precious metals like copper, gold, and aluminum inside.
Apple has also encouraged users to support their recycling efforts. Apple GiveBack enables trading in of old phones in exchange for an Apple Store Gift Card. Meanwhile, phones that are no longer eligible for credit are still accepted and recycled.
The Global E-Waste Problem
Daisy is one form of technology dedicated to urban mining, the process of reclaiming compounds and elements from discarded electronic and electric equipment (EEE) or e-waste.
Urban mining is a response to dwindling resources and environmental problems caused by a linear supply chain, where materials are mined, and products are manufactured and thrown away in landfills after use.
Our hyper-consumer lifestyles are slowly but surely taking a toll on the environment. An average smartphone, for instance, requires nearly 165 pounds of raw material to be produced.
Aside from excessive use of non-renewable materials, technological waste is also a (literally) growing issue with the industries’ linear supply chain.
Indeed, e-waste is a serious matter that is not only a concern for giant companies but for every single person worldwide.
According to the Global E-Waste Monitor report, close to 4 billion people are using the Internet. With majority of the population owning a gadget or two, the electronic waste totals a monumental 44.7 million metric tons – equaling 4,500 Eiffel Towers!
Apple’s Green Promise
Apple is paving the way for tech firms to consider going green. The company recently announced that their operations are now 100% powered by renewable energy, with considerable investment on renewable infrastructure and technologies. This means that every Apple data center, retail store and office in 43 countries run on clean power.
The brand has also vowed to conserve precious resources by completely relying on recycled materials for the production of all iPhones, MacBooks and other devices.
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, is adamant that pushing to establish optimal recycling and renewable energy systems is essential “because we know the future depends on it.”
Apple’s transition to greener operations is encouraging other companies and organizations to make the shift as well, and experts believe that this is a smart move for companies because it allows for long-term savings and brand credibility, apart from giving the opportunity to help the environment, of course.
David Briefel, a regional sustainable design leader at Gensler, says that companies that incorporate these strategies enable them to set the bar for everyone else.
Urban Mining as a Lucrative Solution
For years, we have neglected the potential of e-waste as a resource. But amid rising demand for electronic devices, relying on virgin mining alone is too detrimental (and expensive) for manufacturing companies.
Now that big players like Apple have shown that the closed loop economy can be quite profitable, more and more companies are gradually adopting environment-friendly solutions.
And why not? Recycling e-waste has great financial potential. Urban mining, in fact, has been found to be a cheaper option of extracting precious metals compared to virgin mining. A great example is gold: there’s 80 times more gold in a ton of smartphones than what is generally found in gold mines.
Aside from common metals, urban mining can also retrieve rare metals like europium and terbium, used in TV picture tubes and lighting. As of late, close to half of these rare metals are sourced from urban mining in China.
Just like renewable energy, e-waste management and urban mining are drawing commitment from companies and investors around the world.
The potential for both environment protection and profit is something that visionaries just can’t pass on. E-waste has now literally become a precious gold mine.
If tech giants like Apple are making urban mining a key part of their business brand, will societies finally get serious about recycling?
We hope so.
Need help recycling your electronic waste? Contact Securis today to learn more about our e-waste management solutions.