The Extraordinary Raw Materials in an iPhone 6s
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The Extraordinary Raw Materials in an iPhone 6s

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The Extraordinary Raw Materials in an iPhone 6s

The Extraordinary Raw Materials in an iPhone 6s

Presented by: Red Cloud Klondike Strike (Equity crowdfunding in mining)

Apple launched the first iPhone in 2007, and since then the iconic smartphone has sold over 700 million units around the world.

This best-selling handset sets the standard for smartphone performance and features. However, the iPhone would not be possible without the extraordinary raw materials that line the insides of the case.

Here’s what’s in an Apple iPhone 6s:

Screen

The iPhone’s screen is much more complex than it may seem. The aluminosilicate glass is bombarded with ions of potassium for strength. Meanwhile, a layer of indium tin oxide makes it touchscreen capable, and small amounts of rare earths enables certain colors on the display.

Battery:

The iPhone uses lithium cobalt oxide (LiCoO2) chemistry in its cathode, with 60% of it being made from cobalt. It also uses a graphite anode and aluminum casing.

Electronics:

Processor Chip: The phone’s processor is mainly made from silicon, but it is bombarded by various elements such as phosphorus, antimony, arsenic, boron, indium, and gallium to give it superior electrical properties.

Micro-Electrical: Copper, gold, silver, and tungsten are used for electrical connections within the phone. Which metal is chosen depends on the need. For example, while silver is the most conductive metal, gold never tarnishes.

Micro-capacitors: regulate electricity flow Apple managed to guarantee it only used conflict-free tantalum in February 2014.

Soldering: Tin, copper, and silver.

Sound and Vibration

Speakers and Headphones: To get lots of sound from a small place, high-powered neodymium magnets are used. They are made from neodymium, iron, and boron, and sometimes also containing smaller amounts of other rare earths.

The same magnets also power the phone’s vibration function.

Case:

Aluminum: The iPhone’s case uses aerospace-grade aluminum with an anodized outside layer for extra protection. This layer is just five micrometers thick, thinner than paint.

Camera:

Sapphire glass: This synthetic material covering the lens rates a 9 on Moh’s hardness scale, making it nearly as hard as a diamond.

Material Substitution?

Of the 83 stable and non-radioactive elements in the periodic table, a total of 62 different types of metals go into the average mobile handset.

In 2013, academics at Yale University looked at these metals and metalloids inside smartphones, and rated their possible replacements. They concluded that 12 of these materials effectively had no replacements at all.

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Land of Waste: American Landfills by State

The U.S. is the world’s most wasteful country. In this graphic by Northstar Clean Technologies, we map tons of waste in landfills per person, by state.

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Northstar Clean Technologies: Landfill by state

Land of Waste: American Landfills by State

Each American produces a whopping 1,700 pounds of waste every year, making the United States the world’s most wasteful country.

Approximately half of the country’s yearly waste will meet its fate in one of the more than 2,000 active landfills across the nation.

In this graphic by Northstar Clean Technologies, we map and compare different states’ landfill waste per capita, using data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

States With Highest Tons of Waste Per Person

Upper Midwestern and eastern industrial states rank highly on the trash-per-capita list, with Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Ohio taking the top five spots.

The availability of cheap landfill space in Michigan attracts trucked-in garbage from out of state and even from Canada. That’s because, under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, waste is considered a commodity, and states and counties cannot restrict its import or export from other states or even other countries.

The state also faces challenges with recycling. Michigan’s statewide recycling rate is around 18%, while the national recycling rate is 32%.

StateTons of Waste in Landfills per Person
Michigan66.5
Indiana59.9
Pennsylvania57.4
Illinois54.8
Ohio52.4
Wisconsin51.8
California50.4
Nevada 48.4
Colorado 47.0
Kentucky46.8

Some states are accumulating new landfill waste faster than others. Indiana leads the nation with an annual “landfill waste acceptance rate” of 2.35 tons per year per resident.

States with Fewest Tons of Waste Per Person

More sparsely populated states such as Wyoming, Idaho, Maine, Vermont, and North and South Dakota, all rank among the states with the least landfill trash per resident.

Largely because it accepts considerably less trash by volume than most other states, Connecticut hosts the least buried trash per person, with only 8.7 tons per resident.

StateTons of Waste in Landfills per Person
Connecticut8.7
Massachusetts16.3
Minnesota18.0
Wyoming18.0
North Dakota21.4
Idaho21.4
Maryland21.5
South Dakota22.1
Vermont 24.0
Maine24.0

Food waste, plastics, and paper products make up more than half the garbage in U.S. landfills but other products like glass and metals, for example, can have a significant impact on the environment.

A Multi-Billion Dollar Opportunity

One of the major sources of waste is the construction industry. Every year, around 12 million tons of used asphalt shingles are dumped into landfills across North America.

However, this material can be repurposed to create new materials like fiber, liquid asphalt, and construction aggregate, generating revenue while fighting climate change. In neighbor Canada, for example, recovering and reprocessing shingles is already a $1.3 billion market.

In this context, repurposing waste has not only become essential to minimizing waste, but also to creating new business opportunities going forward.

Northstar Clean Technologies’ mission is to be the leader in the recovery and reprocessing of asphalt shingles in North America.

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BlackRock MyMap: Designed for First-Time Investors

First-time investors are faced with an overwhelming amount of information and choices. See how BlackRock is simplifying the process.

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Whether you’re sending your kids to university or preparing for retirement, meeting future financial needs can be a mighty challenge.

This is due to the many economic issues that eat away at your savings. Inflation, for example, is increasing the cost of gas, groceries, and other daily necessities. The COVID-19 pandemic, on the other hand, has thrown a wrench into many people’s personal finances.

Starting Your Investment Journey

This infographic from BlackRock introduces their MyMap range of multi-asset investment funds, and describes the benefits to first-time investors.

BlackRock MyMap Funds

Today’s Savings Struggles

The above infographic highlighted three savings struggles that make it difficult to meet your future financial goals.

The first is inflation, which refers to the increase in prices of goods and services over time. To understand how inflation can erode the value of your savings, consider this example:

  • £100 worth of goods in 2000 would cost £179 in 2021
  • £100 worth of goods in 1980 would cost £456 in 2021

In other words, inflation reduces the purchasing power of your savings over time.

The second savings struggle is increasing longevity, also known as longer life expectancies. Living a longer life is generally a good thing, but it does increase the risk of outliving your savings. Coming up with a solid retirement plan is becoming more important than ever.

A third struggle is the COVID-19 pandemic, which appears to be having a long-term impact on UK households. In a December 2021 survey, UK families were asked to rate their financial situation following the pandemic. Of the 5,770 respondents, only 38% said they were “financially secure”.

How MyMap Can Help First-Time Investors

Investing has the potential to generate inflation-beating returns. This not only protects your wealth from erosion, but may help it grow over time.

Unfortunately, just 33% of Brits are currently investing in the stock market. To improve this ratio, BlackRock developed the MyMap range of investment funds, which are designed to be approachable for first-time investors. This means that simplicity is a top priority.

As shown below, each MyMap fund is diversified across several types of assets. Or to put it another way, diversification means spreading your savings across different types of investments, to mitigate the risk of any particular one performing poorly. In this case, diversification is achieved through a single product.

FundAllocation to Equities (%)Allocation to Bonds (%)Allocation to Alternatives (%)
MyMap 322%75%3%
MyMap 3 Select ESG26%74%0%
MyMap 445%52%3%
MyMap 4 Select Income33%67%0%
MyMap 564%33%3%
MyMap 5 Select ESG64%36%0%
MyMap 682%15%3%
MyMap 7 Select ESG100%0%0%

MyMap funds also vary by the amount of risk they take, with a lower number signifying less risk. This is why MyMap 3 is heavily weighted towards bonds, which are relatively safer than equities. MyMap 6 takes the opposite approach by investing heavily in equities, which offer greater return potential at the cost of higher risk.

Generally speaking, MyMap 3 is suitable for shorter-term goals (like buying a new car), while MyMap 6 is suitable for longer-term goals (like retirement).

Putting Your Money to Work

For over 30 years, BlackRock’s mission has been to help people build better financial futures. The MyMap range embodies this by giving new investors a simple, one-stop solution for whatever their goals may be.

Sustainable options are available as well, through the MyMap Select ESG funds (3, 5, and 7). These are tailored to investors who are interested in aligning personal values with financial goals.

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