Apple said it will start using 100% certified recycled cobalt for all of its batteries by 2025, inching closer towards its goal of making every product carbon neutral by 2030. Recycled cobalt was about a quarter of all cobalt used in Apple products in 2022, recording a 13% increase over the previous year.
On a similar note, the use of 100% recycled rare earth elements increased from 45% in 2021 to 73% in 2022. Apple is also aiming to use 100% recycled gold plating for all Apple-designed PCBs by 2025, including the main logic board, and flexible boards like the ones that connect to the camera and buttons.
Apple's iPhone dismantling robot Daisy, which is deployed at its Material Recovery Lab in Austin, helps recover cobalt and other materials found in older iPhones. For instance, it includes the rare earth elements used in magnets and gold plating found on Apple-designed PCBs. It is estimated that around 11,000 Kg of cobalt has been recovered from old batteries dismantled by Daisy since 2019 and returned to the secondary market.
Apple has another robot named Dave currently deployed in China whose job is to dismantle the Taptic Engines and help in the extraction of rare earth elements. The company has also started supplying "overhead projector-based augmented reality (AR) systems" to its recycling partners. The AR system projects instructions directly on the work surface and guides workers in dismantling MacBooks and other devices.