Apple Inc last month came confirming the decision of using recycled rare earth elements in a key component of its new iPhones.
Taptic Engine is an iPhone part that lets the phone mimic a physical button like click instead of being appeared to be as a flat pane of glass, and for that feature, Apple make use of recycled rare earth elements, which will comprise about 25% of the rare earth elements that would be used in an iPhone model.
Rare earth elements are a group of 17 specialized minerals, which became a flash point in the Sino-U.S. trade war, as major use of those elements is in weaponry that are also use d in consumer electronic items and other goods.
China is currently in dominating position in processing of raw minerals and has indirectly said through its state-controlled media that it could stop the sales of rare earths to the United States, as it did in 2010 to Japan after having a diplomatic dispute with it.
Use of rare earths by Apple is not related to trade tensions between the United States and China, but it could help Apple maintain stability in supply of the same, said Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives.
Using the rare earths is one of the blissful coincident when using minerals are as good for environment as it is good for business at the same time, Jackson told Reuters.
In consumer electronics, rare earths reside in tiny parts like speaker and actuators and collecting those rare earths from such small parts for recycling is a task which is not only difficult but also the expensive one.
Apple was previously in practice of using rare earths from used iPhones, but for now, it will be using those from an outside supplier, which it declined to name.