For more than 2 years, Apple have been offering to buy back your unwanted iPhone or iPad, and if you have an eligible iDevice, you will be given credit towards purchasing a new one. It’s called the Apple Reuse and Recycle program, and provided you have an iPhone 4, an iPad 2 or any later models, you can use the service. Sadly, they won’t give credit on iPhone 3G, 3GS or earlier, or the original iPad (iPad 1).
Have you ever wondered what Apple do with all the old iPhones and iPads that come in through this program? Well, Apple don’t do anything with them, they hand them over to third party companies (their ‘approved partners’) who deal with the iDevices on Apple’s behalf. One of the locations that handles second-hand iPhones is based in Hong Kong in the Yuen Long district. Here they examine the iPhones, and decide whether they can re-sell them in their current condition, and if so, the iPhone goes straight out again into the second-hand market which is pretty hungry for the later models of iPhones.
If the iPhone is not suitable for re-sale, chances are it will be broken down into component parts using a series of processes which are pretty much the reverse of the set-up that was originally used to build the iPhone – a kind of back to front production line. According to the people who handle the used iPhones, Apple’s requirements are stricter than any of the other mobile phone producers when it comes to handling their used products, and they insist on a target of 85% of materials by weight being recycled, where other electronics companies in general settle for 70%
So basically, the iPhones are dismantled, and every part is separated out and broken down. Certain materials such as precious and scarce metals (gold and copper) that are commonly used in electronics are collected for re-use by the industry, but every other part is ground down and recycled. Even the chips that run the processes within the iPhone are destroyed – Apple are very keen to prevent anyone producing fake iPhones or re-using their chips for illicit upgrades.
Hazardous materials such as gases and chemicals are handled by specialist sites, and the glass, plastics and non-precious metals are recycled into other items such as hard-wearing plastic outdoor furniture and decking, glass tiles and aluminium window frames.
Get a better deal
The Apple Reuse and Recycle program is useful if you want to get credit against a new iPhone or iPad, but what if you really wanted to sell your iPhone for cash? There is a simple solution – sell your iPhone, iPad, or other Apple device to the iTechnicians. They are true Apple experts, and can quickly assess the value of your Apple device, make you an offer, and send you on your way with a handful of cash in a single, easy, face-to-face transaction. What’s more, if your iPhone is usable or repairable, they will ensure it gets back into the second-hand market quickly and efficiently. If it’s not cost-effective to repair, then they will ensure it gets responsibly recycled. You and your iPhone get a better deal from the iTechnician network.