Deprives us of Apple

Recycling: How Apple is pulverizing old iPhones

The Li Tong factory in Hong Kong described at Bloomberg is one of a handful of places worldwide where unusable iPhones are dismantled into their components and sorted by material and sent for recycling. While industry-wide usually 70 percent of the device weight can be obtained as new raw materials, Apple's quota here is 85 percent, as Apple's environmental boss Lisa Jackson advertises: "I think we are expected because our customers adhere to high standards measure up."

"It's difficult because the products are incredibly complex," says Jackson. Apple has agreed with its recyclers over 50 rules and obligations on confidentiality, insurance and working conditions that must be observed during the process. Apple of course pays for the service and remains in possession of every single gram “from the used iPhone to the pile of dust at the end,” as Li Tong describes. Because unlike other manufacturers who re-install individual chips or components, Apple has so far had all components destroyed.

For the transit for recycling, the old iPhones are first deleted, stripped of all logos and shipped separately from the scrap of other manufacturers. The destruction of iPhones, divided into 10 steps, takes place under constant weighing in airtight rooms, so that all chemicals and gases are captured. The main reason for the total destruction is the fear of promoting the counterfeiting of Apple products with used original components. Lisa Jackson suggests, however, that Apple is also working on bringing the highly complex components to further use in the future. So far, gold and copper have been sold and the rest reborn as aluminum window frames and glass blocks.