Apple sues recycling firm for stealing and reselling 100,000 iPhones, iPads and Watches

Apple is suing former recycling associate GEEP Canada — now part of Quantum Lifecycle Partners — for allegedly stealing and reselling no less than 103,845 iPhones, iPads and Watches that it was employed to disassemble. “At least 11,766 pounds of Apple devices left GEEP’s premises without being destroyed – a fact that GEEP itself confirmed,” reads a portion of Apple’s grievance, as reported by The Logic (by way of AppleInsider).

Apple despatched the recycling firm over 500,000 iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches between January 2015 and December 2017, in keeping with The Logic’s report. When Apple did an audit, it found 18 % of these units had been nonetheless accessing the web by means of mobile networks. That 18 % doesn’t depend Apple units and not using a mobile radio, so it’s doable a good greater proportion of the devices had been resold.

Apple seeks to acquire no less than $31 million Canadian {dollars} (roughly $22.7 million USD) from its former associate. The recycling firm denies all wrongdoing, nevertheless it doesn’t deny there was a theft — it has reportedly filed a third-party swimsuit claiming three staff stole the units on their very own behalf. Apple disagrees, arguing that these staff had been in reality senior administration on the recycling firm, in keeping with The Logic.

Apple’s recycling robot

Apple’s recycling robotic Daisy can disassemble 9 completely different iPhone fashions to get better precious supplies.
Image: Apple Newsroom

Last yr, people left behind a document quantity of e-waste including as much as 53.6 million metric tons of discarded telephones, computer systems, home equipment, and different devices. Like different tech firms, Apple has been making an attempt to enhance its environmental practices, together with an effort to maneuver recycling in-house with its personal disassembly robots Daisy and Dave, that are designed to get better iPhone elements that conventional recyclers can’t.

However, the corporate nonetheless depends on different companions to get better precious materials from used units, and from 2015 to 2018 GEEP Canada was one in every of them. Refurbishing and reselling units was additionally a part of GEEP’s enterprise, although: whereas the corporate provided a number of e-waste administration companies throughout that interval, it additionally explicitly said on its web site that its mission was to “encourage reuse whenever possible.”

But from Apple’s standpoint, reselling these units wouldn’t have been OK. Just as a result of merchandise had been capable of be resold on the gray market doesn’t imply they met Apple’s high quality or security requirements. “Products sent for recycling are no longer adequate to sell to consumers and if they are rebuilt with counterfeit parts they could cause serious safety issues, including electrical or battery defects,” the corporate tells The Verge.

Apple filed the grievance in January 2020, nevertheless it’s identified concerning the thefts since they had been found between 2017 and 2018. Apple hasn’t labored with GEEP Canada since.

In 2019, we printed a report about how one poster little one of recycling companies, Total Reclaim, marketed its moral practices whereas truly delivery off hazardous waste abroad with out following laws.

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