Apple Sues Recycling Partner for Allegedly Reselling Over 100,000 Devices

The firm resold the iPhones, iPads and Watches it was hired to disassemble.
Fabienne Lang

Apple has filed a lawsuit against one of its former contractors, GEEP Canada. The firm was meant to recycle and dismantle Apple iPhones, iPads, and Watches. If the allegations are true, GEEP Canada has been reselling over 100,000 of the company's devices.

GEEP has not denied the theft, but it has denied any wrongdoing. "At least 11,766 pounds of Apple devices left GEEP’s premises without being destroyed — a fact that GEEP itself confirmed," explained a portion of the complaint by Apple, as per The Logic's report.


Reselling instead of recycling

Apple discovered the issue after conducting audits on over 500,000 iPads, iPhones, and Watches it had sent to GEEP between 2015 and 2017. It turns out that about 18% (103,845 devices) of those devices were still accessing the internet through cellular networks. The number may be even higher as these numbers don't take devices using cellular radio into account.

The tech giant is now asking for $31 million CAD (roughly $22.7 million USD) from GEEP. 

The Canadian firm is denying any wrongdoing, but it hasn't denied that theft has occurred. Supposedly, GEEP is blaming three employees for the theft. Apple, however, questions these allegations given these three employees are part of the senior management team.

Apple has been trying to carry out more of its recycling in-house, for instance, by using its recycling robot that disassembles 200 iPhones every hour, so as to recover difficult-to-reach parts of the phones that can be recycled. 

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Companies dealing with e-waste

This is not the first time that big tech companies have a face-off with firms that help repair their devices. A lot of the time, these devices have exceedingly hard-to-reach and to repair parts, which require specific tools and knowledge. It's not always affordable or easy to have the work done by Apple, which is the reason why many seek out repair shops.

E-waste is a huge issue, so it's important that these companies work properly together. If all else fails though, there are creative companies such as Vollebak that upcycle hardware into fashionable items.

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