If your old iPhone needs to be recycled, it doesn’t just end up in the big pile. For a few years now, Apple has had a robot that takes apart your iPhone in a sustainable way. The used parts and materials of the device are reused as much as possible. In this way, the Cupertino company wants to prevent the company’s ecological footprint from becoming too large. Many parts from old smartphones can still be reused.
Parts that can no longer be used are reused by Apple as raw material for new iPhones. No employee is involved. Robot Daisy from Breda easily disassembles your iPhone.
Robot takes apart iPhone
Daisy sounds like Robin’s girlfriend from Bassie and Adriaan, but the robot doesn’t look like that. In practice it is a large robot arm with various glass parts. It concerns five robot arms of about 10 meters. The robot can recognize several iPhones since the iPhone 5 on its own. Based on the recognition, the robot then chooses the right way to disassemble the iPhone without damage. Apple adds the latest products to Daisy every year, so that all iPhones can be recycled properly.
Daisy herself knows how to disassemble an iPhone
No employees are involved in the disassembly process. Daisy can recognize herself which device she has in ‘her’ hands and how exactly the device must be taken apart. That usually starts with the screen and then the battery. Even all the screws are neatly taken apart. Daisy then knows how to take apart all the separate parts and sort them neatly. This way your camera, speaker and back are also used again. The robot can even tell apart the Apple logos on the back of the device, because it is made of a different material per device.
Because Daisy knows exactly every iPhone has the robot in front of it, the robot knows the difference between each back. And that’s a good thing, because every back is rich in raw materials that can be used again.
Materials to make a new iPhone
When Tim Cook is ready to announce a new iPhone in September of every year, his specialists are usually proud to say that the iPhones are mainly produced from recycled material. That’s for good reason; the company wants to minimize its ecological footprint. Disassembling a device and sorting the parts takes Daisy less than 18 seconds. Daisy can sort fourteen different elements. Consider, for example, materials such as aluminum, cobalt, tin, tungsten and gold. These materials are also used again in the latest models.
According to Apple, one ton of iPhone parts contains as much gold and copper as 720 tons of materials found in gold and copper mines. Mining these materials had a major impact on the environment and the working conditions were also not very good. In the past, Apple received a lot of criticism about the working conditions of the miners and it also took a lot of credit for how the company seemed to treat our planet. The company therefore decided to change the production process and develop a robot that makes recycling iPhones a lot easier.
Daisy is a welcome invention for Apple to make new devices mainly from recycled material. You don’t see it as a consumer, but there is a good chance that your MacBook Pro, iPhone or Apple Watch is also made of recycled aluminum. Apple promises not to use new aluminum anymore, but to melt down the old devices. Inside the iPhone’s vibration motor is a heavy metal that has tungsten. It is difficult to get hold of that metal and it has a considerable impact on the earth. Since the iPhone 13 and the accompanying Apple Watch, only recycled tungsten is used.
Apple is already well on its way to making all gadgets only from recycled material. The intention of the tech giant is even to make all gadgets entirely from recycled or renewable materials in the future. Apple has had that goal since 2017, but it’s not there yet. Daisy can theoretically take apart more than 1 million iPhones a year, but how many there really are is a secret that Apple doesn’t want to divulge just yet. The manufacturer therefore calls on everyone to take out the old iPhones and hand them in. You can even get a gift card for it. If you can no longer sell your old iPhone as a refurbished iPhone device, Daisy knows what to do with it.
In any case, sustainable use of your iPhone is becoming increasingly important, as the well-known website iPhone.nl also announced last week.
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