Apple has recovered millions in gold from old iPhones

“Apple uncovered a seemingly welcome surprise by recovering over a ton of gold from old devices you recycled,” Don Reisinger reports for Fortune.

“The tech giant revealed in its annual Environmental Responsibility Report (PDF) this week that it recovered 2,204 pounds of gold, valued at millions of dollars in material,” Reisinger reports. “Additionally, Apple was able to recover 6,612 pounds of silver as part of its ‘take-back initiatives’ in 2015.”

“While the recycling could be viewed as a nice cash infusion for most, for Apple, one of the richest companies in the world with hundreds of millions of cash in the bank, it’s a pittance,” Reisinger reports. “What’s more, Apple isn’t using the material to cash it in, but rather to reuse it for its future production efforts.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Cheaper than mining it!

At the current price of gold, $1303.59 per ounce, 2,204 pounds is worth $45,969,797.76.

[Update, 7:33am PDT: Had our cups of coffee and fixed the math.]

Apple promises to one day stop mining minerals to make iPhones – April 20, 2017
Apple continues supply chain transparency as Trump administration considers suspending conflict mineral requirements – March 27, 2017
Apple takes groundbreaking steps to combat deadly trade in conflict minerals – April 1, 2016
Apple says they’re making progress eliminating conflict minerals – February 12, 2015
Where Apple gets the tantalum for your iPhone – February 5, 2015
Greenpeace praises Apple for reducing use of conflict minerals – February 13, 2014
Apple confirms suppliers use conflict-free minerals – February 13, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. Quantities of gold are normally described in troy ounces.

    This article is going to start a firestorm on the internet about how uber-rich Apple is ripping people off by “taking back” their old devices. In truth, I doubt that the recovered gold and silver covers the cost of recycling. But we all benefit from the results – less toxic waste in our landfills!

  2. I’d be interested to find out what happens to all that metal in those hundreds of millions of low-cost Android smartphones. I doubt there are any of those companies having an active recycling program. I’d say it’s likely there could be third parties who do recycling but it’s also likely they just end up in some Chinese landfill.

    Wall Street is always so gung-ho about the constant selling of cheap smartphones every single year. It’s like they have no regard for the ecology. What’s so great about using up natural resources at a prodigious rate. I figure it would be better if a smartphone had a useful lifespan of about three years. It would be good for both consumers and the ecology.

  3. not going to throw cold water on recycling initiatives (because I believe in recycling) but before people count profits factor in how much it cost to recover it.

    Recovering gold from tiny components AND be environmentally friendly must be hard. In the old days cheap recyclers used toxic Mercury and dumped the brew into rivers etc. (as it’s cheaper than neutralizing the waste ) and I’m sure Apple doesn’t use cheap environmentally unsafe methods.

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