Apple is suing a Canadian recycling firm for reselling more than 100,000 of its devices for profit


Apple is suing a Canadian recycling firm for allegedly reselling more than 100,000 devices it sent to be recycled, according to BBC. 

The tech giant sent more than 500,000 old iPhones, Watches, and iPads to Geep Canada from 2015 to 2017 to be recycled. But, after carrying out an audit in 2018, it discovered 18% of these phones were still accessing the internet. Apple seeks to obtain at least $31 million CAD (roughly $22.7 million USD) from its former partner. 

Geep, which filed its own legal action in July, blames three rogue employees and says it was unaware what was going on at its plant in Barrie, Ontario. The company is now part of Quantum Lifecycle Partners, which said: “The employees named have never been employed by Quantum.” The recycling firm denies all wrongdoing, but it doesn’t deny there was a theft. It has reportedly filed a third-party suit claiming three employees stole the devices on their own behalf. Apple disagrees, arguing that these employees were in fact senior management at the recycling firm, according to The Logic. Apple filed the legal paperwork in January, but the reports have only recently been made public. “Products sent for recycling are no longer adequate to sell to consumers,” Apple told The Verge. “And if they are rebuilt with counterfeit parts, they could cause serious safety issues, including electrical or battery defects.”

Last year, humans left behind a record amount of e-waste adding up to 53.6 million metric tons of discarded phones, computers, appliances, and other gadgets. Like other tech companies, Apple has been trying to improve its environmental practices, including an effort to move recycling in-house with its own disassembly robots Daisy and Dave, which are designed to recover iPhone components that traditional recyclers can not. However, the company still relies on other partners to recover valuable material from used devices, and from 2015 to 2018 GEEP Canada was one of them. Refurbishing and reselling devices was also part of Geep’s business, though: while the company offered multiple e-waste management services during that period, it also explicitly stated on its website that its mission was to “encourage reuse whenever possible.”


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