What most of you iPhone owners do not know is that Apple Inc does more than selling your iPhone to you. They build giant solar panels to power buildings, they make their machines talk and work and they also buy your gadgets back when you don’t need them anymore.
Well, they don’t exactly ‘buy’ your iPhones with cash. They do give Apple Gift Cards in exchange, though! Back in 2001, Apple started going green by putting up the Apple Recycles program. This program is Apple’s “take-back service for customers in the U.S. and Canada” which is also a way of cutting off their company’s environmental impact by letting iPhone users in the U.S. recycle their e-wastes responsibly. Well this year, Apple began expanding their scope of recycling by implementing its recycling program for iPhones and iPads in the United Kingdom, France and Germany. The recycling program, which was previously exclusive to Mac computers and iPods has been extended to iPhones and iPads in the U.S. this summer, allowing Apple fanatics with old model iOS devices to send them back to Apple and get an Apple gift card for the residual value of their devices.
Meanwhile, according to Apple’s German website, iPhone users in Germany, France and U.K. will receive a direct deposit into their bank accounts for the value rather than a gift card. The best part of the recycling program is that Apple takes care of everything for free. In the U.S., Apple only asks users to fill out an online form describing their device and the company will send them the appropriate shipping materials to send their products back to the subcontractors who manage the program for Apple. PowerON, Apple’s contracted recyclers company, determines the fair market value for your device and drops off an Apple Gift Card for you for that amount.
Macerkopf, the German Mac site, describes the process in Germany, France and the United Kingdom where local subcontractors Dataserv (based in Germany) will be responsible for assessing the fair market value of the device in question and the monetary value of the device is deposited directly into the user’s bank account.
Of course the worst case scenario would be that you are helping the environment through your iPhone by safely recycling electronic equipment completely free. This happens when your iPhone is so broken down and waterlogged that it has lost its value. But if you are planning on selling your iPhone and if you think your device has a certain monetary value, you might come away with a gift card or bank deposit that you can use to spend on another Apple gadget! (Say hello to iPhone 5 for your efforts of earning a green thumb!)
So what happens after you give your iDevice back? When selling your iPhone back to Apple, the used equipment is disassembled and the key components that can still be reused are removed and processed for recycling. The glass and metal parts of your iPhone can be reprocessed for use in new Apple products while the majority of the plastics in your iPhone can be pelletized to be used as a secondary raw material. The reprocessing of materials and reuse of components helps Apple to reach a recovery rate of almost 90 percent by weight of the original product. In the Apple recycling program’s website, the company assures that “All e-wastes collected by Apple-controlled voluntary and regulatory programs worldwide is processed in the region in which it was collected… Apple recyclers do not dispose of hazardous electronic waste in solid-waste landfills or incinerators.” Apple also assures its green-thumbed followers that all their recyclers follow strict health and safety laws and that harsh chemical treatments and operational controls over the recycling process are directly contracted to recyclers like WeRecycle!, Dataserv and PowerON.