Tim Longhurst's Blog

iPod’s are tiny and toxic – Apple moves to protect America

June 13th, 2005 · No Comments

ipod.jpgApple iPods contain lead, mercury and other toxins.1 That’s particularly a problem considering there are more than 10 million of them in the world.2

Toxins in landfills are bad news for the environment, so Apple has launched a program (exclusive to the US) where people can take their broken/unwanted iPod to Apple for environmentally-friendly disposal (source: Apple).

What about the rest of the world? Is Apple only concerned about their products polluting America? I found no evidence that Apple’s iPod
recycling program extended beyond the US. Surely Apple thinks the
environment outside America is worth protecting as well? Or do they “Think Different”?

So I phoned Apple…

A quick phone call to the Apple Store (Australia) confirmed my fears – there is no take-back program for the more than 800,0003 iPods floating around this country.

Australia’s staff must be furious that their American parent is busy
investing resources to protect the American environment from iPod
toxins, while nothing has been invested to protect Australia from the
very same pollutants. Perhaps this frustration is echoed around the

Why isn’t the iPod take-back worldwide?

Apple launched its Tiger Operating System in the USA, they felt it was
so important they managed to launch it in many countries (including
Australia) on the same day.

Why wasn’t the iPod take-back program launched in many countries on the same day?

me get this straight – when Apple stands to make money (by launching
software), their programs operate across borders. When the environment
stands to win (by taking back iPods), the program stays in the United

That doesn’t sound ok to me and I doubt that it’s ok with you, either.

Where to from here?

you think Apple should take responsibility for the toxins they design
into their products, call them and let them know. It will take less
than two minutes, and you will be able to see first hand whether
Apple is the customer-focused, forward thinking organisation we’d like
them to be.

Register your concern with the friendly Apple Store operators.

be polite and courteous: I’m confident Apple’s retail staff will share
your reservations about one environmentally-friendly iPod policy for
America and nothing for the rest of the world, and will gladly pass on
your comments.

In Australia you can call 133 622 and follow the options to speak to an Apple Store representative.
Other countries: use Apple’s website (scroll to the foot of the page) to find the number for your Apple Store.

Read more:
Fix it Apple – the Green Guide
Environmentalists push for a ‘greener’ iPod | csmonitor.com
Computer Take Back Campaign

1 Source: Information Week and the Green Guide
2 Source: Steve Jobs here
3 Source: Apple Store (Australia) representative

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Category: Corporate craziness

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