Apple’s recycling program is doing very well. As part of its annual environmental report that the company released yesterday, Apple declared that it had recovered nearly 90 million pounds of materials from Apple devices recycled through is program in 2015. Sixty-one million pounds of those materials are reusable in future products, including 2,204 pounds of gold, which Business Insider calculates is worth nearly $40 million in gold. Apparently that iPhone disassembling robot was a good investment.
The average smartphone contains around 30 milligrams of gold used in internal components like circuit boards, according to Fairphone. Although $40 million in gold (plus another $6 million in copper according to 9to5Mac) is chump change for Apple, those kinds of numbers may spur other companies to start promoting their own recycling programs and help keep some of these old gadgets from ending up in a floating landfill somewhere in the Pacific Ocean.