Smartphones await their fate at Sims Recycling Solutions’ mega-shredder facility in Roseville, California. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
ROSEVILLE, California – This is where your electronics go to die.
In a nondescript, 200,000-square-foot warehouse 20 miles northeast of Sacramento, box after box of discarded electronics and parts sit at Sims Recycling Solutions, awaiting their date with the “mega-shredder” at the end of the line. That’s where four rows of 22 hardened-steel blades will rip and grind the metal housings and circuit boards into tiny chunks.
“We recycle almost everything,” said Bill Vasquez, Sims’ vice president of U.S. operations, during Cult of Mac’s recent tour of the facility. He said more than 99 percent of the materials that pass through Sims’ doors gets recycled. “Our focus is to divert everything from landfill as much as possible.”
Do you have an ancient first-gen iPod lying around? A candy-shelled iMac G3? An iPhone 2g? Heck, even a vintage Macintosh SE, or working Apple I?
Good news. Starting today, Apple’s retail stores will accept any of its old products for recycling, and if they think they can resell it, you’ll even get some store credit (although you may want to hold off on trading in that Apple I).
In the two weeks preceding every major Apple product launch, the buy-back companies start circling, trying to convince you to sell your old iPhones and iPads to them instead of the competition. This year’s iPhone 5S and 5C launch is no exception, and even Apple is rumored to be starting a buy-back program.
Gazelle is one of the oldest “recyclers” of used iOS devices, and we have recommended the service before. This year, though, their service is getting even better, because they are allowing now offering a price-lock guarantee.
In 2005 Apple responded to mounting pressure from environmental activists by announcing a free recycling program for its iPod digital music players. Fast forward to 2010, five years later, and this wonderful program is still in existence and it isn’t just for iPods. I thought I should remind you about it, because I nearly forgot about it when my 80 Gb iPod started to act flakey last Fall after years of service.
The program is a win-win for customers, like myself, that are interested in recycling electronics (an effort to save the Earth), upgrading to a new iPod, iPhone, Mac, or iPad, and saving some money at the same time.
Concerned with the growing problem with eWaste? Want the ability to upgrade and repair your own electronics? Believe that the throw-away mentality needs to change for the sake of sustainability?
So does iFixIt, teardown-masters extraordinaire and longtime information and parts resource for Apple users. They have just published the Self Repair Manifesto, along with an ambitious call to action to create – via crowd-sourcing – a Wikipedia-style Free Repair Manual for devices of all kinds: electronics, appliances, even a few cars.