A Canadian company that had agreed to disassemble and recycle iPhones, iPad, and Apple Watches allegedly sold over 100,000 of them instead. Geep admitted the products were sold not recycled, but blames the theft on three of its employees.
Reselling an iPhone isn’t the same as recycling it
According to iPhone Addict, Apple sent Geep 531,966 iPhones, 25,673 iPads and 19,277 Apple Watches from 2015 to 2017 for recycling. But Apple did an audit of the Canadian company’s warehouse and noticed that many units couldn’t be accounted for. It did some testing and found that 18% of the supposedly disassembled units were in use on cellular carriers’ wireless networks.
The exact number of devices that were sold instead of recycled is only an estimate. Apple was unable to check on the status of iPads and Apple Watches that don’t connect to cellular networks.
Geep and Apple are now arguing over who’s at fault. Geep says its employees sold the devices surreptitiously, so the company itself is blameless. Apple says the employees were executives, so Geep owes it the profits from the sale of the devices, plus $31 million Canadian ($23.3 million US).
Apple takes iPhone recycling seriously. It dedicates considerable resources to preventing old devices from ending up in landfills. And it tries to buy recycled materials when possible.