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4 Eco-Friendly Ways To Recycle Your Old iPhone

By Desirée Kaplan

Since 2007, there have been 7.1 billion smartphones manufactured. While this is enough to give every person on the planet a phone, production is higher than ever to feed to market’s demand for newer and shinier models. Consequently, the average iPhone tends to be about two-years-old when it is traded in. 

But where do all the phones go once they’re swiftly replaced? According to the Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability, less than about 16 percent of e-waste is recycled. Many phones find their way to landfills but heavy metals can leech into ground water. As a result of the fast turn over and minimal recycling, e-waste has quickly become an environmental concern which tends to spike when Apple announces new model releases. Luckily there are a few eco-friendly options we can chose as consumers. 

1. Check out Apple's recycling program.

Apple has acknowledged the issue of e-waste and back in 2014, the company collected more than 40,000 tons electronic rubbish. Apple has also taken steps to offer solutions for it’s consumers. Apple’s Recycling Program is managed by a third party, PowerON Services, and gives customers the chance to return their phones. The company assesses the value of the phone and takes it back in exchange for an Apple Store Gift Card matching the item’s fair market value. The company will accept generally any Mac or PC product for it’s recycling program. 

Apple products will be recycled for free but non-Apple-branded products are charged a $30 if it has no monetary value. To participate, customers are encouraged to perform a back up and data wipe before sending in their device. Once sent in, the equipment is tested and qualifying pieces will be sold in the secondary market to extend it’s life, while other items that can’t be reused are recycled in a responsible manner. 

Apple also invented a line of disassembly robots called Liam. These nifty bots can take apart 2.4 million phones a year. By creating efficient recycling technology, Apple is able to give new life to high quality components and reduce the need to mine more resources.