Apple found $US40 million in gold in used phones and computers last year

Gold is best
Not a real Apple exec. TBS

A big push for Apple this year is recycling, as it uses partners and fancy new robots to make sure valuable parts from the millions of iPhones sold per year don’t end up in landfills.

The company released its annual environmental report on Thursday, and it included some information about just how much it can recover from its old computers — over 61 million pounds of steel, aluminium, glass, and other materials.

As part of that, Apple recovered 2204 pounds of gold — well over a ton. 

At the current spot price of $US1229.80 per troy ounce of gold, Apple recovered just under $US40 million in gold from old phones and computers.

But where did it come from? According to Fairphone, an activist group focused on electronics supply chains, the average smartphone uses 30mg of gold, mostly in circuit boards and other internal components. And Apple recycles millions of iPhones and other computers that have tiny bits of gold in them.

It’s also possible that Apple might have recycled a few Apple Watch Editions, which has been estimated to have over 50 grams of 18-karat gold in it. But it’s hard to imagine people who spent over $10,000 on an Apple Watch would turn it back to Apple for recycling in less than a year.

Here’s the full table with the amount of materials Apple recovered last year: 

Apple Gold

Please enjoy this Conan O’Brian sketch from when Apple announced that it was going to produce a gold-coloured iPhone. Gold is best: 



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