apple’s recycling robot

At the latest Apple media event, the company presented a robotic rig  named “Liam” that they’ve developed for tearing apart iPhones at EOL for recycling.

It’s definitely a step in the right direction towards a circular economy (and terrific to see Apple put sustainability concerns in a prime spot at its media event) but Apple has an advantage here in that it has massive numbers of limited SKU’s out in the market, so very tailored and highly automated recycling programs are possible.

The lighting market is highly fragmented and there is such a proliferation of LED component, lamp, module and fixture designs, that any recycling program of any volume must deal with a mixed waste stream.

Again, some fundamentally different design and service approaches would greatly reduce the impact of manufacturing and the liability costs of end-of-life processing for LED lighting.