With Earth Day just around the corner, Apple announced it's quadrupling the number of locations US customers can send their iPhones for recycling. The company's recycling robot, Daisy, will now disassemble select iPhones returned to Best Buy stores in the US, KPN retailers in the Netherlands, as well as those recycled at any Apple Store or online through the Apple Trade In program.
According to Apple, each of the Daisy robots can disassemble 1.2 million devices per year, or 15 different iPhone models at a rate of 200 per hour. Recovered materials are recycled back into the manufacturing process, and Apple sends the iPhone batteries Daisy removes to select manufacturing sites. There, for the first time, the cobalt is recovered, combined with scrap and used to make new batteries. That creates a true closed loop, and it could address some of the supply and ethical concerns around the key battery material.
Beginning this year, Apple will also recover aluminum and remelt it into its MacBook Air enclosures. Already, recycled aluminum in the MacBook Air and Mac mini has almost halved the carbon footprints of those devices. The company also uses recycled tin in the main logic boards of 11 different products. To further this work, Apple announced plans for an Austin, Texas-based Material Recovery Lab, where it will use robotics and machine learning to improve its disassembly, sorting and shredding processes.
Apple shared these updates as a part of its 2019 Environmental report. That includes other info -- like the statistic that Apple refurbished 7.8 million devices in 2018, diverting more than 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from landfills. You can read the full report here.