Don’t go west, young man! If you’re searching for gold, look no further than your favorite Apple device! Apple’s ninth annual Environmental Responsibility Report reveals that its recycling program last year recovered 89 million pounds of materials. That included $40 million worth of gold!
Business Insider reports Apple recovered 2,204 pounds of gold, (that’s well over a ton of gold). The publication estimates that at the current spot price of $1,229.80 per troy ounce of gold, Apple recovered just under $40 million in gold from old phones and computers.
Fairphone, an activist group focused on electronics supply chains, estimates the average smartphone uses 30 milligrams of gold, mostly in circuit boards and other internal components.
Companies like Apple use gold in their circuit boards as it has a low electrical resistance, and it doesn’t corrode like other metals, such as copper. Companies usually apply a thin layer of gold over a thicker layer of copper, which is fairly valuable too, Apple recycled over three million pounds of copper, worth over $6 million.
Apple also recycles a number of other metals used in their devices, including silver, nickel, aluminum, steel, lead, zinc, tin, cobalt, glass and plastics.