By Kim Lachance Shandrow, Tecca
We hate to break it to you, but one day your iPhone will be outdated. Sooner or later, you’ll fall out of love with it and fall fast and hard for another must-have smartphone. Ooh, do we smell an upgrade? Hello, iPhone 5! When you do finally break it off with your iPhone — or iPad, Mac, or PC — make it a clean, green break. Send it off to Apple’s newly revamped Reuse and Recycling Program for an Apple gift card.
Here’s how it works
- Go to Apple’s Reuse and Recycling website and tell them about your unwanted device. (Only iPhone, iPad, and Mac or Windows desktop and notebook computers qualify — yes, Windows PCs, too!) Follow the easy instructions to select the make and model of your gear, plus any other pertinent details, including your snail mail address.
- PowerON, a used tech reseller that contracts with Apple, will estimate the fair market value of your product and inform you via email. For example, if you retire a 8GB 3G iPhone in good condition, you could get up to $80 back on a gift card. Not bad! Or if the thrill is gone with your 16GB 3G iPad, depending on its condition, you could get up to $170 back on an Apple gift card.
- Ship your has-been gadget off to Apple’s greener pastures on PowerON’s dime — that is, if you agree with its estimated value. PowerOn will give you prepaid (free!) options for packing and mailing your old gear to them for evaluation. If the quoted value doesn’t cut it for you, PowerOn will ship it back to you for free.
- Patiently wait for your shiny, new Apple gift card to arrive. According to Apple, it will come via snail mail “after a short time.” When it does, you can use it toward a new toy at any Apple retail store or online. Or spend it on iTunes or gift it to someone else. It’s up to you.
Plenty of alternatives
What if your old gadget is worthless? It’s not all doom and gloom. If PowerON determines that your old device is a valueless dud, it’ll send it off to WeRecycle, a reputable e-waste recycler. WeRecycle pledges not to send any hazardous components and toxic e-ooze from your retired electronics to prisons in the United States or other countries for dangerous disassembly, like so many other e-waste recyclers do.
Unfortunately, iPods don’t qualify for Apple’s gift card program. To e-cycle yours, all you have to do is bring it to an Apple retail store. Your reward for this small, yet significant green deed? A 10% discount on a brand new iPod. Pretty cool, right?
If all you want do is offload your old computer or display for free, regardless of brand, Apple can help you with that, too. Just call 877-712-2405 to get your free, prepaid shipping label. Then pack your unwanted gear in your own box and ship it off. It’s that easy.
While you’re at it, you can also e-cycle your old Mac battery for free. Bring it to an Apple retail store near you, and Apple will responsibly deal with it for you.
Wipe it clean first
Unless you’re okay with identity thieves hacking your bank accounts (and more), we urge you to purge all of your personal or work data from any unwanted device you e-cycle. Doing so keeps your usernames, passwords, contacts, emails, web browser history, private photos, and who knows what else from falling into the wrong hands. Yes, Apple and its green contractors guarantee secure data destruction… but you just never know.
Extra green karma
Good on you for not carelessly trashing your smartphone like most people do. When you get tired of your next phone, why not donate it to charity, use it to plant a tree, or upcycle it into eco e-art? We’re all for whatever it takes to keep aging electronics from oozing toxic mercury and lead into landfills (and our air and water supply) for the next 300 or so years.
When you’re not busy shopping for your next dreamy upgrade, swing by Apple’s official Environmental Progress report card for a peek at the many other ways Fortune 500’s #35 company is aggressively shrinking its environmental footprint.