six colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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Linked by Jason Snell

Apple forces recyclers to shred its products

Tough read from Motherboard about Apple’s recycling policies, which require that recyclers shred all the e-waste they receive:

Kyle Wiens, the CEO of iFixit, notes that recycling “should be a last option” because unrecyclable rare earth metals are completely lost and melted down commodities are less valuable and of generally of a lower quality than freshly mined ones. Repair and reuse are much better ways to extend the value of the original mined materials.

To be clear, Apple’s practices are often against the wishes of the recycling companies themselves, who don’t like to shred products that are still valuable. In a weird twist of fate, I visited ECS Refining before I knew that it did recycling for Apple. While I was there, I watched workers crowbar and crack open recent-model MacBook Pro Retinas—worth hundreds of dollars even when they’re completely broken—to be scrapped into their base materials.

I can understand why Apple would prefer to suppress a market in reclaimed and refurbished products. Old and unreliable Frankensteined Macs could harm the reputation of its products, in addition to possibly suppressing sales of new models. There are privacy and security risks regarding data stored on hard drives. But at the same time, it seems rather wasteful to indiscriminately toss usable computers and computer parts into a shredder.