Apple is suing a former recycling partner, accusing the company of stealing, repairing, and reselling more than 100,000 Apple devices that should have been disassembled. The complaint submitted by Apple mentions that GEEP Canada, the former recycling partner, has acknowledged the fact.
More than 500,000 iPhones, iPads, AND Apple Watches were sent to GEEP Canada, a company that is know included in Quantum Lifecycle Partners. Tests conducted by Apple have revealed that close to 20% of these devices were still able to access the internet. Since some of the devices didn’t have a cellular module, the actual number could be even higher.
Making a profit
The penalty could be quite high for GEEP Canada as Apple wants to receive 31 million Canadian dollars in damages. However, the recycling company has said that there were no malicious intentions, arguing that the culprits are former employees who stole the devices to make a profit.
Such a defense might seem credible, but Apple isn’t convinced and has argued that the employees in question are part of the management of the company, holding key positions that would have facilitated the operations.
Need to recycle
An impressive amount of electronic waste was thrown away in 2019, as millions of phones, computers, smartphones, and appliances were discarded. Apple has been working on improved strategies for the management of electronic wastes, as it has already built disassembly robots that can recover valuable components.
Help from external partners is needed, and Apple worked with GEEP Canada from 2015 to 2018. Besides recycling activities, GEEP also refurbished and sold electronic devices, with a focus on reuse. While some damaged devices can be repaired and sold, Apple argues that products marked for recycling aren’t safe, and they could pose major risks for users.
Apple had known about the stolen devices since 2018 when the partnership with GEEP Canada was canceled, but the complaint was filled in January 2020.