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Apple's Recycling Initiatives Recover $40 Million In Gold (macrumors.com) 138

An anonymous reader writes: Apple released its latest annual environmental report yesterday with numbers detailing how much the company has been able to recover from old devices. Business Insider notes that Apple was able to recover over 61 million pounds of steel, aluminum, glass, and other materials from its computers and iPhones. This includes a total of 2,204 pounds of gold worth $40 million at current prices ($1,229.80 per troy ounce of gold). Cult of Mac ran the figures quoted by Apple through today's metal prices, and came up with individual figures for copper ($6.4 million), aluminum ($3.2 million), silver ($1.6 million), nickel ($160,426), zinc ($109,503), and lead ($33,999). Last month, Apple unveiled an iPhone recycling robot, named Liam, that salvages old parts.
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Apple's Recycling Initiatives Recover $40 Million In Gold

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  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Friday April 15, 2016 @10:40PM (#51919819)

    I wanted my Iphone laid to rest as I knew it in life.

  • And they only spent 100M recovering the said gold. Bargain and twice the price
    • Experimental program not instantly profitable? Say it isn't so!

      I'm sure they can improve the efficiency of the extraction process.

      • by mi ( 197448 )

        Experimental program not instantly profitable? Say it isn't so!

        So, is the experiment a success in your opinion? They've extracted a total of about $52 million dollars worth of material for the cost of $100 million...

        Do you expect it to become profitable some time in the future?

        I'm sure they can improve the efficiency of the extraction process.

        They'll need to not just improve, but double it just to break even. That recycling is a fraud is increasingly obvious [google.com] — even its cheerleaders have to cite consu [howstuffworks.com]

        • Its not just about greening Apple's image and making customers feel good. It is also about removing used phones from the market. To interfere with a secondary market (used) that is competing with the primary market (new).
        • Experimental program not instantly profitable? Say it isn't so!

          So, is the experiment a success in your opinion? They've extracted a total of about $52 million dollars worth of material for the cost of $100 million.

          Actually, it was just a cost of $5,37. See I can pull numbers from your ass too.

          • by mi ( 197448 )

            Actually, it was just a cost of $5,37. See I can pull numbers from your ass too.

            The $100 mln figure appears in delt0r's post [slashdot.org] above. I now realize, he said "if". The actual number is likely much bigger, actually — otherwise Apple would've been glad to publish it...

            • Actually, it was just a cost of $5,37. See I can pull numbers from your ass too.

              The $100 mln figure appears in delt0r's post [slashdot.org] above. I now realize, he said "if". The actual number is likely much bigger, actually — otherwise Apple would've been glad to publish it...

              Yeah, sorry, it was only $3,49. Stop making up stuff, boy.

              • by mi ( 197448 )
                In the absence of actual data, speculating is perfectly justified. And it is not my laziness — Apple is playing the cards close to chest. From a rather laudatory article about Apple [mashable.com]:

                Apple declined to comment on how much it cost to build Liam.

                Ask yourself why?... The same article adds:

                While Liam makes up the entire system, its 29 robotic helpers do the handy work. [...] It's clear this is a well-oiled operation; after all, it took years to perfect

                Do you honestly believe, this required less than a

                • So you make up stuff based on truthiness. Big news - in lack of evidence people often make errors of several orders of magnitude, mostly because their brain is dazed with hatred.
                  • by mi ( 197448 )
                    Speculation is not "making stuff up" — it is perfectly valid to inquire, how much they've spent and, in the absence of a clear answer, attempt to estimate.

                    You've now missed the third chance to offer your own estimates or explain, why mine are incorrect. This confirms, you aren't arguing here in good faith. I shall not continue. *Plonk*...

                • What the fuck, do you actually believe an industrial robot costs several million bucks a piece? Every year? What does the cost of a production facility (ignoring that it is in a barely related industry) have to do with the cost of a recycling facility? A junk yard cost orders of magnitude less than a car plant.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Not everything is about making a profit. Sometimes the doing right thing for the environment is a price worth paying.
      I think that might have even been their whole idea with this, too...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        > Sometimes the doing right thing for the environment is a price worth paying.

        right. and what do they do with the rest of the components - the ones that aren't made of gold? the ones that aren't worth using again?

      • by Afty0r ( 263037 )
        > Not everything is about making a profit.

        True, but if you're making a loss, that just means someone else (or you) is paying for the task. That means that eventually that money will run out, and you will have to stop doing the task. "Making a loss" is the financial equivalent of "Environmentally unstable" - you can do it for a while, maybe even a long time, but eventually have to stop doing it. And in the same way, people prefer to stop doing it NOW if it's anticipated to always make a loss, just like
        • by Afty0r ( 263037 )
          OOOPS! Should read:

          "Making a loss" is the financial equivalent of "Environmentally unsustainable"
        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          True, but if you're making a loss, that just means someone else (or you) is paying for the task. That means that eventually that money will run out, and you will have to stop doing the task.

          That's only true if the loss on the one task is larger than your entire profit.

          We recover $40 mil of gold, but at a cost of $100 mil. Okay, that's a loss on this one task. But what is that cost spread out over all those iPhones we recycled? Still a loss, but a small one per unit. Now remember that Apple is the only iPhone maker, so every one of those iPhones they recycled they also sold and made a profit on once upon a time. How much profit did they make from each iPhone back then? The loss of recycling the

      • by delt0r ( 999393 )
        And often recycling is *worse* for the environment. I don't know if this is, probably not for heavy metal reasons. But just assuming recycling is green is factually incorrect.
    • by zdzichu ( 100333 ) <.zdzichu. .at. .irc.pl.> on Saturday April 16, 2016 @02:44AM (#51920389) Homepage Journal

      That's the cost of following the law, being nice to environment is a side effect. Apple, as a device manufacturer is under *obligation* to recycle their phones, as long as they want to sell them in 700+ million market called Europe.
      Here is quick summary of ROHS 2002/95/EC and WEEE 2002/96/EC directives: https://lwn.net/Articles/68380... [lwn.net]

      • That's the cost of following the law, being nice to environment is a side effect. Apple, as a device manufacturer is under *obligation* to recycle their phones, as long as they want to sell them in 700+ million market called Europe. Here is quick summary of ROHS 2002/95/EC and WEEE 2002/96/EC directives: https://lwn.net/Articles/68380... [lwn.net]

        Others follow that law by sending their stuff to Africa or China. That's lower cost.

        • by zdzichu ( 100333 )

          Yeah, if Apple send their stuff to China, the recipient would be Apple. They are manufactures from start to end of chain, they have noone to offload recycling to.

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Sure - setup costs, but after a while capital equipment pays for itself.
      A testing place I used to work at recovered the silver from used photographic chemicals and it added up over time. Gold is potentially easier to recover in bulk since a lot of chemicals dissolve just about everything else leaving the gold behind. Using mercury makes it even easier to got the gold :)
    • Don't worry, next year we will see the cast of "Gold Rush, 2.0" running the remains of shredded through their washplants.

    • And they only spent 100M recovering the said gold. Bargain and twice the price

      Your missing something. Apple's 100M effort to remove used phones from the secondary market (used) in order to reduce competition for the primary market (new) is subsidized to the amount of 40M by recycling the phones removed from the market. Plus there is a further subsidy through public relations and brand image from the greening this program offers.

      And the upcoming robotic disassembly may yield to more efficient recycling/recovery than shredding and other current methods.

  • by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Saturday April 16, 2016 @12:41AM (#51920131)

    The troy ounce (oz t) is a unit of imperial measure, now commonly used to measure the mass (weight, in common parlance) of precious metals. One troy ounce is defined as exactly 31.1034768 g, which may be used to denote the value of a precious metal.

    so that's about $39,539 (USD) per kilogram of gold.

    • Accually, right now it $39.+change/g. aint metal cool? [goldprice.org] and holds its value! [youtube.com]

      • Yes! Its Friday! Yes! We said the same thing. Yes! I've been drinking. Yes! Just YES! I have a chemist friend who says there is some magical chemical I can use to pull the plating off of all this hardware, but I'll have to give up all this wonderful 20 year old tech to do it...... I still haven't decided.... I'll use it someday.

    • The troy ounce is about 10% heavier (ratio 192/175) than the avoirdupois ounce, used for everyday purposes in the United States, which equals 28.349523125 g.

      Interestingly, the wikipedia page continues with:

      Troy ounces are still often used in precious metal markets in countries that otherwise use the metric system

      Whereas the French page says it is in use mainly in English-speaking countries for precious metals. Yet, in a funny twist of history:

      The name "troy" is first attested in 1390. Though it is often connected to a fair at the city of Troyes, France, this story may have been invented in the 18th century.

      Of course, the French page does not say anything about the story being apocryphal.

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