Apple sues recycling firm for stealing and reselling 100,000 iPhones, iPads and Watches

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Apple is suing former recycling partner GEEP Canada — now a part of Quantum Lifecycle Partners — for allegedly stealing and reselling at least 103,845 iPhones, iPads and Watches that it was hired to disassemble. “At least 11,766 pounds of Apple devices left GEEP’s premises without being destroyed – a fact that GEEP itself confirmed,” reads a portion of Apple’s complaint, as reported by The Logic (via AppleInsider).

Apple sent the recycling firm over 500,000 iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches between January 2015 and December 2017, according to The Logic’s report. When Apple did an audit, it discovered 18 percent of those devices were still accessing the internet through cellular networks. That 18 percent doesn’t count Apple devices without a cellular radio, so it’s possible an even higher percentage of the gadgets were resold.

Apple seeks to obtain at least $31 million Canadian dollars (roughly $22.7 million USD) from its former partner. 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’s recycling robot

Apple’s recycling robot Daisy can disassemble nine different iPhone models to recover valuable materials.
Image: Apple Newsroom

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’t.

However, the company still relies on other partners to recover valuable material from

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