There’s gold in them thar phones! Apple pulls a (literal) ton of gold out of old hardware

Yesterday we found ourselves poking around Apple’s environmental-efforts FAQ, after learning that the company had possibly slipped up and publicly described OS X as “MacOS.” Was this the start of a new branding initiative? We still don’t know (and Apple has since changed the text to read “OS X”), but upon looking a little further we’re discovering some other interesting information here, as the new Apple Environmental Responsibility Report boasts some impressive figures on the sheer amount of raw materials the company’s been able to recycle.

Remember Liam, the tear-your-iPhone-apart (for fun and profit) robot Apple showed off back at last month’s event? Hardware like Liam helps Apple recover valuable resources from hardware its customers bring in for recycling, and this new report spells out exactly how much of this stuff Apple was able to get out of otherwise junk hardware last year.

Apple ended up with 2,220 lbs of gold and 6,612 lbs of silver, to say nothing of the millions upon millions of pounds of aluminum, copper, and steel. At current market rates, that’s $1.6 million worth of silver, but just shy of an impressive $40 million worth of gold. We’ve heard of one man’s trash being another man’s treasure, but this really takes the cake.

Before you go ripping up your own iPhone for the gold hiding within, keep in mind that there’s only a tiny, tiny amount in any given device, and it’s not exactly deployed in a way that’s easy to harvest; recovery efforts like Apple’s here only make sense when we’re talking about recycling on a massive scale.

Source: Apple (PDF)
Via: Business Insider, Cult of Mac

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About The Author
Stephen Schenck
Stephen has been writing about electronics since 2008, which only serves to frustrate him that he waited so long to combine his love of gadgets and his degree in writing. In his spare time, he collects console and arcade game hardware, is a motorcycle enthusiast, and enjoys trapping blue crabs. Stephen's first mobile device was a 624 MHz Dell Axim X30, which he's convinced is still a viable platform. Stephen longs for a market where phones are sold independently of service, and bandwidth is cheap and plentiful; he's not holding his breath. In the meantime, he devours smartphone news and tries to sort out the juicy bits Read more about Stephen Schenck!