Apple is using 100 per cent recycled rare earths in its new iPhones, the tech firm has announced.
The company claims it is the first smartphone with this innovation, despite the conventional belief that the materials cannot be recycled.
The Taptic Engine is a crucial component of its new iPhone 11 model which contains only recycled rare earth materials, making up around a quarter of the total rare earth elements used in a new iPhone.
Rare earths are a group of 17 specialized minerals, and its elements are used in weapons, consumer electronics and other goods.
The move is paving the way for the company’s long-term goal of manufacturing its products using only recycled and renewable materials and creating circular supply chains.
Last year Acre reported the launch of the Apple “disassembly robot”, Daisy, which was designed to help streamline its recycling processes.
Daisy can disassemble 1.2 million iPhones annually, and there are now two operating in the US and the Netherlands. In addition, the robot can refurbish iPhones which avoids sending more than 48,000 tonnes of electric waste to landfill.
Apple also opened a materials recovery lab in Texas earlier this year, which will use robotics and machine learning to improve disassembly, sorting and the shredding of recovered phones.
The firm has also said that for the first time ever, the enclosures for its latest iPads and Apple Watches will be made with 100 per cent recycled aluminium, recovered from its trade-in programme, which will now be melted into enclosures for the MacBook Air.
Apple claims its moves are avoiding the mining of more than 280,000 tonnes of bauxite as well as at least 34,000 tonnes of tin ore over the next year, by reusing materials. One hundred per cent recycled tin is also being used to solder the main logic boards of more than 15 different products, while recycled cobalt is being used in new batteries.
Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said in a statement: “People said that you couldn’t use recycled rare earth materials, but our new iPhones prove you can.”