Recycling can be a bit of a pain, but it's good for you and good for the environment. Though, admittedly, you're unlikely to become rich by taking various items to a recycling center yourself.
For large companies like Apple, that use a variety of different, pricey parts in their devices, recycling is ideal. Not only can a company extract and reuse undamaged components within other devices, but it can also just melt down anything it might not want to reuse directly and either sell the raw materials or use them to make new parts for new devices.
And while it sounds like it might be a pain of a process for Apple to extract its devices' components, we can't help but think that a tool like the Liam—Apple's iPhone disassembly robot—is actually a pretty good investment. Though we don't know how much a Liam costs, we do know how many resources Apple is recycling, as the company just released its annual Environmental Responsibility Report for fiscal year 2015 on Thursday.
"We're as committed as ever to conserving precious resources. In 2015, we diverted more than 89 million pounds of e-waste from landfills. And more recently, we introduced Liam, a line of robots that can disassemble an iPhone every 11 seconds and sort its high-quality components so they can be recycled, reducing the need to mine those resources from the earth. It's an experiment in recycling technology, and we hope this kind of thinking will inspire others," the report reads.
According to Apple, the company recovered just around 61.3 million pounds of resources via its recycling efforts in fiscal year 2015. That includes 2,204 pounds of gold, which translates to just around $40 million or so. While that's (sadly) chump change for Apple, which pulled in $75.9 billion in revenue during the first three months of 2016, that's still quite a lot of gold given that the average iPhone, as The Verge notes, has around 30 miligrams of gold within its various internal components. It's likely that Apple will hold on to this, as opposed to selling it, for use in other devices.
And in case you're curious about all the other raw materials that Apple has managed to extract from its devices, Cult of Mac ran through a number to calculate just how much Apple is saving. Apple makes the most from the gold, go figure, but it also now has around $6.4 million worth of copper, $3.2 million worth of aluminum, $1.6 million of silver, and a mere $40,000 of lead (to name a few).