Despite revealing their anticipated new iPhone SE and a smaller iPad Pro at their Keynote last month, the most impressive announcement from Apple came in the form of Liam, an industrial robot designed to tear apart discarded iPhones.

Announced onstage by the company’s Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives, Lisa Jackson, Liam is programmed to detect each and every part of the iPhone for intelligently disassembling the device for proper material processing at the rate of 2.5 phones per minute – meaning, Liam is capable of saving 1.2 million iPhones a year from the landfill.

While we knew at the time of the announcement that Liam was capable of rescuing cobalt and lithium from the battery, gold and copper from the camera, silver and platinum from the logic board and aluminum from the phone casing, we were never informed just how much these recovered raw materials might actually be worth in layman’s terms.

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In their annual Environmental Responsibility Report leading up to Earth Day 2016 this Friday, the company announced that they had recovered a staggering 90 million pounds worth of e-waste from all Apple devices recycled within the last year. Of those 90 million pounds, over two-thirds can be reused into future Apple devices including over 2,204 pounds – approximately $40 million – of gold alone:

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Take-back initiatives aren’t the only way how the company is getting greener, though. In addition to putting new life into old materials, the company has optimized manufacturing processes to make working with those recovered materials even more streamlined – such as making slight design changes on the interior of the aluminum iPhone 6S enclosure to make the carbon footprint half that of the iPhone 6.

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You can read the report in full over at Apple.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.