Liam – Improving the LifeCycle of iPhones

1. Sustainability Problem: Waste

There are billions of technology products and they are constantly being replaced by by new or different technologies, but in a world with limited resources and over-flowing landfills, we can not discard all of our old gadgets to landfills and rely on freshly sourced materials to build the replacements. Improper disposal of technology can be dangerous due to toxic chemicals in the battery, such as cobalt and lithium.

2. Technology: Liam The Robot

Apple Just Unveiled a Blazing Fast iPhone Recycling Robot

by Lacey Cook, Published 3/21/2016 on inhabitat at

  • In March, Apple introduced a new member of the Apple Renew program, Liam, a robotic arm
  • Liam is programmed specifically to dismantle iPhones into reusable parts and safely recycle toxic materials found in the battery such as lithium, and cobalt
  • Once dismantled, the parts will be broken down further to be reintroduced into the global supply chain
  • Apple provides pre-paid package labels to customers returning old or unwanted devices, they will also receive a gift card if the returned device has any value

3. Organizational Stakeholders

  • Apple
  • Toxic waste management facilities
  • Landfill facilities
  • First generation resource/material providers for technology
  • Current, potential, and future Apple customers

4. Deployment

  • Increase public awareness of Apple Renew, the company’s reuse and recycling program
  • Incentivize or require users to return old products
  • Share Liam technology and programming with other technology manufacturers or disposal organizations to increase the total impact

See also:



3 thoughts on “Liam – Improving the LifeCycle of iPhones

  1. Thanks for sharing this article! I had no idea that Apple had this program and technology available. I never do know what to do with my old iPhone. I think that they need to do a better job of getting public awareness for this program and marketing it with release of new phones. The only thing that may be a concern with this model is the increase in mail traffic that will result in many people shipping their phones across the country to Cali. They need to ensure that the increase in transport costs of these old phones is factored into the environmental pros that result in the use of the robot. This will allow Apple to properly quantify the overall impact to the environment.


  2. It’s incredible how much can be reused rather than left to pollute our precious planet. We all have to reorient our thinking to be environmentally conscious in everything we do in our daily lives. While smart technologies can be leveraged to build new products and improve our lives, Liam type robotics can also improve our environment and lessen pollution. Thanks for sharing this great video!!


  3. This is such an interesting concept – thanks for sharing! It makes me wonder if we will eventually get to a state where electronics disclose what percentage of its product is recycled materials, like that of packaging or plastic. I think the refurb program has helped tremendously, but this will take it to the next level and change consumers’ mindset on what “new” and “used” really means for electronics.


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