Apple is introducing a new robot to dismantle and recycle iPhones. It's called Liam.
Apple unveiled the recycling bot at an event in Cupertino, California, on Monday. In a video, Apple demonstrated how Liam will pull apart used phones and mine them for important materials like cobalt, silver and lithium.
Lisa Jackson, Apple's vice president of environmental policy and social initiatives, told the live audience these salvaged components will be reintroduced to the global market for now, but down the road the company hopes to "create breakthroughs that allow us to use those high-quality materials in our own products."
The problem: While the the effort to recycle these resources is admirable, the original sourcing of elements like cobalt may remain unethical. Earlier this year, the Global Mining Institute questioned whether major hardware companies were receiving cobalt from mining operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where child labor is relatively common.
93% of Apple's operations worldwide are powered with renewable energy.
Apple's news regarding its deconstructing robot came at the end of a litany environmental goals the company has achieved. Jackson reported that, since first announcing a plan to run on 100% renewable energy two years ago, 93% of the company's operations worldwide are powered by renewable energy.
In some regions, Apple stores, offices and data centers run on 100% renewable resources, Jackson announced. To illustrate how the company accomplishes these impressive ecological strides, Jackson touted two 20-megawatt solar farms that are also home to a population of yaks, as well as land preservation efforts in China, North Carolina and Maine.