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Apple’s Recycling Robots: How They Work and What They Do

  • By kuwaitigenius
  • June 24, 2024

Have you ever wondered what happens to old iPhones once they end their life? With millions of iPhones sold each year, managing electronic waste responsibly is essential. Apple has been at the forefront of this effort with its innovative recycling robots. These robots not only help reduce environmental impact but also showcase the future of electronic recycling.


The Journey of Apple’s Management and Recycling Robots

The Birth of Liam

Apple introduced its first recycling robot, Liam, in 2016. Liam was designed to disassemble iPhones and sort their components for recycling. The initial model, Liam 1.0, could take apart an iPhone 5S in 12 minutes. While this was a significant technological achievement, it was not practical for large-scale recycling due to its slow processing speed​.

Advancements with Daisy

In 2018, Apple launched Daisy, a more advanced and efficient recycling robot. Daisy can disassemble 29 different iPhone models, ranging from the iPhone 5 to the iPhone 14 Pro. Unlike Liam, which gently unscrewed components, Daisy uses a “brute force” approach by punching out screws and freezing batteries to remove adhesive​. This method significantly speeds up the process, allowing Daisy to dismantle an iPhone in just 18 seconds​.

How Daisy Works

Daisy operates through several key steps:

  1. Scanning and Identification: When a bin of iPhones is fed into Daisy, the robot scans and identifies each phone model.
  2. Component Removal: Robotic arms place each phone into a metal bracket, remove the display, and send the device into a cooling chamber. The freezing process causes the battery adhesive to fail, allowing the battery to be easily punched out.
  3. Sorting and Processing: After the battery is removed, other components are punched out. A worker then sorts these components to be sent downstream for further recycling​.
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Daisy can handle up to 200 iPhones per hour, equating to about 1.2 million iPhones per year​. While this is impressive, it’s a small fraction compared to the estimated 150 million smartphones discarded annually​.

Environmental Impact

Apple’s recycling efforts with Daisy have significant environmental benefits. For example, recovering one metric ton of main logic boards, cameras, and flexes avoids the mining of over 2,000 metric tons of raw materials​. Additionally, Apple aims to use 100% recycled or renewable materials in its products, with 20% of the materials in recent iPhones already being recycled​.

Apple’s Broader Management and Recycling Goals

Apple’s commitment to environmental sustainability extends beyond just recycling old devices. The company has pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This includes using recycled materials in its products, reducing its carbon footprint, and sharing its recycling technology with other companies. Apple has made several of its recycling patents open source, encouraging other manufacturers to adopt similar recycling practices​.

The Future of Electronic Waste Management

Daisy represents a significant step forward in electronic waste management. However, the scale of the e-waste problem requires broader solutions. By promoting recycling and developing innovative technologies, Apple aims to inspire other companies to join the effort in reducing electronic waste. Encouraging consumers to recycle their old devices instead of storing them in drawers can also contribute to solving the e-waste crisis​.



Apple’s recycling robots, from Liam to Daisy, showcase the company’s dedication to environmental sustainability and innovation. These robots efficiently recycle old iPhones and highlight the potential for advanced technology to address global e-waste challenges. For businesses looking to responsibly recycle their electronic devices, partnering with a dedicated recycling company like Express Communication can ensure that devices are recycled efficiently and sustainably. Express Communication specializes in electronic recycling, providing tailored solutions for businesses to manage their e-waste responsibly. Businesses can contribute to a more sustainable future by choosing such services while ensuring compliance with environmental regulations.

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For more information on how to recycle your electronic devices or to partner with a professional recycling company, visit Express Communication’s website today.


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