Apple’s recycling program gives a leg up to e-waste business

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Date: Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, 09:33
Category: Apple, Consumer Electronics, Environment, Retail Store

green-recycling-symbolBack in September, Apple began rolling out its in-store iPhone trade-in service in US Apple retail stores as part of their Reuse and Recycling Program. In October, this program extended to the UK followed by other European retail locations. This program allows customers to walk into a store, have the value of their current iPhone determined by an Apple employee, and receive an Apple Gift Card for that amount to be applied toward the purchase of a new iPhone. It’s important to note that the gift card can ONLY be used toward a new iPhone, not other Apple products. This can also be done online, where you will be sent a box to send in your device in exchange for the gift card.

According to Apple’s Reuse and Recycling Program web page, device market value is calculated by PowerON (at least in the US), a service for retailers and manufacturers to offer trade-in programs to customers, similar to what Gazelle offers directly to device owners. Comparing these values with ones offered at Gazelle, the values from Apple tend to be a little bit lower, however if you take it into a retail store, you can swap your old hardware with a shiny, new device and it’ll be set-up and working by the time you exit the store.

According to a press release from The Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch site, mobile phone trade-ins have become a hot commodity. It states that, “…last year approximately 1.7 billion mobile phones, containing 453 million pounds of e-waste materials, were manufactured.”. With that much material swimming around, there’s money to be made, and given the amount of iPhones Apple makes, their recycling program is going to make sure even more e-waste makes it to recycling companies. GTSO, an environmentally conscious company with an interest in delivering “green friendly” solutions, is currently involved in e-waste partnerships domestically and with partners in Latin America and other emerging markets.

“Apple’s involvement likely ensures users will turn in their phones to be recycled before continuing the cycle of buying a new mobile device,” GTSO CEO Paul Watson said. “That signals a market for recycling that will continue to grow and become very profitable for years to come.”

The positive fallout from all this is that as the market of e-waste becomes more profitable and desirable, the more products and materials that get recycled. I guess you’d call that a win-win.

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