By Michael Dabaie
Apple Inc. (AAPL) said it is expanding its recycling programs, quadrupling the number of locations U.S. customers can send their iPhones to be disassembled by the company's recycling robot, which it calls Daisy.
Apple said the robot will disassemble and recycle select used iPhones returned to Best Buy stores throughout the U.S. and KPN retailers in the Netherlands. Customers also can turn in devices at any Apple Store or through apple.com as part of the Apple Trade In program.
The company has received nearly one million devices through Apple programs and each Daisy can disassemble 1.2 million devices per year, Apple said.
A robot is now able to disassemble 15 different iPhone models at the rate of 200 per hour, Apple said. Once materials have been recovered, they are recycled back into the manufacturing process. For cobalt, which is a key battery material, Apple sends iPhone batteries recovered upstream in its supply chain. They are then combined with scrap from select manufacturing sites and, for the first time, cobalt recovered through this process is now being used to make new Apple batteries.
Apple said it is opening its Material Recovery Lab dedicated to discovering future recycling processes. The new 9,000-square-foot facility in Austin, Texas, will look for solutions involving robotics and machine learning to improve on traditional methods like targeted disassembly, sorting and shredding.
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