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Apple is offering to recycle its products for free worldwide, and has included even third-party products like mobile phones and PCs in the program in some countries.
The company said on its redesigned environmental responsibility page that Apple retail stores will take back Apple products for “free, responsible recycling.”
A spokesman for Apple confirmed Monday that the program would be available worldwide.
The announcement ahead of Earth Day on Tuesday offers store gift cards, if the old product is found to be reusable, for use against new purchases at Apple online and physical stores. If the product cannot be reused, Apple will recycle it at no cost to the user.
There are variations by country, but at the bare minimum every Apple retail store will take back Apple products for free and responsible recycling
Under the new program, the company is offering, depending on the country, to also recycle Apple batteries besides mobile phones and even computers and displays from other vendors at no cost to the users.
Rare earth metals are absolutely critical to modern life. Fiber optic communications require erbium. Neodymium is a critical component in modern permanent magnets. Without a steady supply of rare earth metals, we would find ourselves in some difficulty, and things may get even more critical in the future—quantum memory may lie in the hands of praseodymium.
Despite this need for rare earth metals, pretty much the entire supply comes from one country: China. In 2010, politicians finally noticed this, as China started restricting its export. In response, a team of researchers from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have been investigating our ability to recycle rare earth metals.
Rare such as yttrium, neodymium, niobium, and dysprosium are required for powerful magnets. These small but extremely strong magnets are required for common appliances including refrigerators, cell phones, and engines of all types. However, because they are only present in trace amounts (less than 1%) in these products, it is extremely difficult to recycle these appliances with the intention of recovering REEs