'Less than 15% of global e-waste is recycled or used', says the U.N.
Apple have unveiled a new robotic system capable of taking apart junked iPhones in order to recover recyclable materials.
Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of Environment: "Let me introduce you to a pretty cool R&D project. We call him Liam."
Liam, which has been under development for nearly three years and started operating at full capacity last month, will initially focus on the iPhone 6. According to Apple it can dismantel one iPhone 6 every 11 seconds. At that rate and working uninterrupted, Liam can handle no more than a few million phones per year, a small fraction of the more than 231 million iPhones sold in 2015.
Apple the robotic system is meant to push the technology sector toward more recycling, both by manufacturers and consumers.
Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of Environment: "Ultimately, our goal is to create breakthroughs that allow us to use those high quality materials in our own products, because reuse and recycling is so important. And that's where you can come in. With Apple Renew, you can recycle your devices easily and quickly and in a way that's safe for your data and safe for the planet. All you have to do is take them into an Apple retail store."
Liam appears to be an attempt from Apple to address criticism that their products are so tightly constructed they are almost impossible to disassemble, refurbish and reuse.
The world is awash in discarded electronic equipment, with the United States and China accounting for nearly a third of it. Some environmental activists have criticized Apple for not making its products more green.
According to an April 2015 United Nations University report less than a sixth of global e-waste is properly recycled or made available for reuse.