Apple unveils ‘groundbreaking’ recycling machine

US technology giant Apple has launched a recycling machine which it says can capture metals from its products better than “conventional shredders recyclers rely on”.

Apple says the new machine is 'designed to help conventional bulk electronics recyclers recover more precious materials'

The announcement was made by the company as it unveiled its 2022 Environmental Progress report, in which Apple said 18% of material in its products is made from recycled content.

Apple explained that its new machine, Taz,  is designed to recycle modules containing rare earth magnets as an alternative to the conventional shredder many recyclers rely on.

The company also said it improves material recovery from traditional electronics recycling.

The machine, according to Apple, uses “new shredder-like technology to separate magnets from audio modules and recover more rare earth elements”.

Taz was designed by “engineers and experts” and a pilot plant has been operating in Austin, Texas.

Apple said the plant is still in pilot stage and sits alongside a number of other investments in recycling machinery. This forms part of plans to form a global “supply chain solely for recycled content”.

Machinery

Apple has invested heavily in new machinery as part of efforts to increase the recycling of its products.

It its report, the company claimed it further expanded the capabilities of its “patented iPhone disassembly robot Daisy to take apart 23 models of iPhone, and has offered to license those patents to other companies and researchers free of charge”.

An additional robot, Dave, disassembles Taptic Engines, used across its iPhone models, helping to recover valuable rare earth magnets, tungsten, and steel.

Stats

The 18% recycled content figure was helped by the company’s “certified recycled gold”, and it also said it more than doubled the use of recycled tungsten, rare earth elements, and cobalt.

The company said that it wants to move towards using 100% recycled content in its products in the future.

The report explained that “recycling innovation requires a long-term approach”.

The report read: “Our current technologies serve a vital role in recovering valuable materials — and we’re committed to continuously improving how we do this.

“At the same time, new and emerging technologies represent some of the best opportunities to impact the future. Research and development in these areas have the potential for transformative changes. This is what drives our investment and support of initiatives that are poised to redefine disassembly and recovery”.

Carbon neutral

The company also set a goal to eliminate plastic in its packaging by 2025. The report showed that in 2021, plastic accounted for only 4% of the packaging used.

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