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Rare Elements Are Now Tapped For iPhone Parts

Apple’s new iPhones will use recycled rare earths in its “Taptic Engine”, a key component that lets iPhones mimic a physical button click, despite having a glass screen only. Rare earths are a group of 17 specialized minerals used in weapons, consumer electronics and other goods. Apple’s use of recycled rare earths from its old devices is for the company to maintain a steady supply of minerals, not because of China’s planned restriction of rare earths sales to the United State, as Reuters detailed: 

“This is one of those happy coincidences where what is good for the planet is really good for business at the same time,” Jackson told Reuters. “One of the things we talk about a lot internally, just in general, is how much more resilient this makes our supply chain.”
In consumer electronics, rare earths reside in tiny speakers and actuators. The parts are so small that collecting them for recycling is difficult and expensive.
Apple said on Wednesday that aluminum from enclosures recovered through its trade-in programs will be melted down and made into new MacBook Air laptop computers. The company previously disclosed that cobalt recovered from iPhone batteries disassembled by robots at its recycling labs in Texas is put into new iPhone batteries.

image credit: via wikimedia commons


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