Apple harvested almost $40 million worth of gold from recycled gadgets last year

Apple harvested almost $40 million worth of gold from recycled gadgets last year, and is now deploying robots to take iPhones apart in a major environmental push.

In its latest annual environmental responsibility report, which was published last week, Apple explained that it gathered 2,204 pounds of recycled gold during its fiscal year 2015. The gold, which weighs more than a ton, is worth $39.6 million.

Apple recovered more than 63 million pounds of various materials via its “take-back” recycling initiatives in 2015, according to the company’s environmental report. The tech giant gathered over 23 million pounds of steel, making it the most recycled material, and more than 13 million pounds of plastics. Other recycled materials include glass, aluminum, copper, cobalt, nickel, lead, zinc, tin and silver.

The Cupertino, Calif.-based firm is also harnessing sophisticated technology to boost its recycling efforts. “Existing recycling techniques, like shredding, only recover a few kinds of materials and often diminish their quality,” it explained, in its annual report. “So we invented Liam, a line of robots designed to disassemble 1.2 million phones a year, sorting all their high-quality components and reducing the need to mine more resources from the earth.”

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