Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 25th Apr 2017 18:47 UTC
Apple

Apple released its Environmental Responsibility Report Wednesday, an annual grandstanding effort that the company uses to position itself as a progressive, environmentally friendly company. Behind the scenes, though, the company undermines attempts to prolong the lifespan of its products.

Apple's new moonshot plan is to make iPhones and computers entirely out of recycled materials by putting pressure on the recycling industry to innovate. But documents obtained by Motherboard using Freedom of Information requests show that Apple's current practices prevent recyclers from doing the most environmentally friendly thing they could do: Salvage phones and computers from the scrap heap.

Having "old" but perfectly usable products in the marketplace is a terrible place for a company like Apple to be in. Most computers, smartphones, and tablets from, say, the past 4-5 years are still perfectly fine and usable today, and a lot of people would be smart to buy one of these "old" devices instead of new ones. Except, of course, that Apple doesn't get a dime when people do that. So, they have "recycling" companies destroy them instead.

Remember: profit always comes before customer. Apple is executing an environment and sustainability PR campaign right now through its usual PR outlets - don't be fooled.

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Hardware also contains "holes"?
by dionicio on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:09 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

...And those are NOT patch-able. First line of battle is at the mind of the Users. Simple association taints the Trademark.

Reply Score: 2

If only it was just Apple...
by Kochise on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:18 UTC
Kochise
Member since:
2006-03-03

But the computer and phone industry as a whole. Who use the venerable 3310 today ? The one supposed to last after humanity ? Old computers and phones don't get updates, you have to buy new for "security" reasons, because you know, the old hard/soft architecture isn't proof.

And cars gets a little trick to pass pollution tests. And junk foods don't have to clearly display what's inside. You get the idea, obviously it's not just Apple and the computer industry that is deeply rotten, society allows corporation to get a free pass.

Do not forget to vote advisably next time.

Reply Score: 6

RE: If only it was just Apple...
by leech on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:26 UTC in reply to "If only it was just Apple..."
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

But the computer and phone industry as a whole. Who use the venerable 3310 today ? The one supposed to last after humanity ? Old computers and phones don't get updates, you have to buy new for "security" reasons, because you know, the old hard/soft architecture isn't proof.

And cars gets a little trick to pass pollution tests. And junk foods don't have to clearly display what's inside. You get the idea, obviously it's not just Apple and the computer industry that is deeply rotten, society allows corporation to get a free pass.

Do not forget to vote advisably next time.


On the bright side, old phones don't need updates. I'm talking dumb phone, like those undying ones. As long as the batteries can still be bought, they can last forever.

Also Old computers are great for slapping Linux on them, it has great hardware support for old systems. So no real need to throw them away either, and generally hardware issues are patched via software.

Reply Score: 4

WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Also Old computers are great for slapping Linux on them, it has great hardware support for old systems. So no real need to throw them away either, and generally hardware issues are patched via software.


And even if you don't have a use for them, you can put them on the 'free stuff' section of Craigslist (assuming that's in your area), and someone will come and take it off your hands. I recently got rid of a 13yo Dell P4 by doing this.

Reply Score: 3

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

WorknMan,

And even if you don't have a use for them, you can put them on the 'free stuff' section of Craigslist (assuming that's in your area), and someone will come and take it off your hands. I recently got rid of a 13yo Dell P4 by doing this.


They did the same thing at the linux user group. People would bring old computers, printers, books, etc, and other people would take them!

Reply Score: 3

Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

On the bright side, old phones don't need updates. I'm talking dumb phone, like those undying ones. As long as the batteries can still be bought, they can last forever.

Yeah, unless you cannot find batteries, even compatible generics, for your old rag. Or they simply cut off the 2g network, what the old phones are now incompatible with, rendering them definitively useless.

Same with Linux boxes, the 32 bits support has been ditched out, and the amount of data needed to be processed out to render modern web pages with all the fancy stuffs would also make them useless.

Reply Score: 2

RE: If only it was just Apple...
by dionicio on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:36 UTC in reply to "If only it was just Apple..."
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

All We Pavlov conditioned to DEPEND on black-box solutions, Kochise. To circle magic cauldrons. This Generic concept is from Eric S. Raymond.

Reply Score: 1

Must shred clause
by Alfman on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:28 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

It's a pretty damning report. Here's hoping the bigger media picks up on it and the court of public opinion convinces apple (and others) to rethink this position.

I understand that allowing more used products to enter the market is detrimental to apple's profits on new products, however I think these clauses should be voided on the basis that they go against the public's interests. For all I know it may be apple's legal right to do it, but I don't understand why they aren't just taking a cut of the profits when the old components are resold? Surely that would be a better outcome than this.

Edited 2017-04-25 19:29 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Must shred clause
by dionicio on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:46 UTC in reply to "Must shred clause"
dionicio Member since:
2006-07-12

Networked objects are different beasts, Alf. Even before automation. Take Bureaucratic chains before automation, as example. Some changes on regulations, used to bring down to knees the whole damn thing.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Must shred clause
by whartung on Tue 25th Apr 2017 20:14 UTC in reply to "Must shred clause"
whartung Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a pretty damning report. Here's hoping the bigger media picks up on it and the court of public opinion convinces apple (and others) to rethink this position.


The public doesn't care.

I understand that allowing more used products to enter the market is detrimental to apple's profits on new products, however I think these clauses should be voided on the basis that they go against the public's interests. For all I know it may be apple's legal right to do it, but I don't understand why they aren't just taking a cut of the profits when the old components are resold? Surely that would be a better outcome than this.


The issue with "the public" isn't that there aren't enough cheap computers available. Is that the premise? We need more cheap laptops? The "Digital Divide", or whatever it's called today, is bandwidth and connectivity today, not hardware.

I imagine if you went to those self same recyclers that are currently shredding Apple products, you'll find that they're shredding everything else as well. I have not yet heard of some secret "recycler warehouse" of cheap, used computer hardware sponsored by Bob's Computer Recycling, where they sell all those old HPs, Thinkpads, and Dells. All of those products made by folks who, apparently, don't have a "must shred" clause.

How many hours per machine do you think it takes to bring one up to any kind of supportable standard? And contrast that with the total, economic impact of shredding everything for pennies and then sorting out the pieces. Do you think there's some guy prying about MacBooks and dismantling them, or, rather, they're simply tossing them wholesale in to a shredder/sorter machine? I've head of those Linux co-ops that take donated machines, build them up, test them, give them to the community. Do those still exist? I think we had 1 or 2 in all of California. Is that all that California can support? Perhaps that's a telling indicator right there.

Consider the used car market, or more appropriately, the user car parts market.

Around here, we used to have a junkyard called "pick-a-part", where you could go and remove parts from old cars and use them yourself. In the end, it probably had, what, 200 wrecks at any one time? I don't know if they still exist or not, land is not cheap where you can simply dedicate it to a bunch of rusting wrecks. The one we used to go to is probably an Amazon distribution center today.

My friend used to go there specifically for classic car parts. It's not like this place had rows upon rows of Camrys and Civics. For a hard to find classic car, it's one thing. For a commodity car? vs heading down to a local auto part store? Hardly. How many million cars are shredded each year? Perfectly good, viable vehicles. The market has only so much capacity for used vehicles.

Apple has decided to take the responsibility of handling e-waste directly. The simple fact that I can call up Apple, and they'll send me a box so that I can ship back my creaky old VCR, which they've never made, for FREE, is a really amazing gift from Apple. We have a local, county level e-waste facility that I trust. I do NOT trust the local "free e-waste days" that pop up regularly. I don't know what they do, or what they do. As I don't want my gear ending up in a container destined for Bangladesh to be demolished with hammers on a beach, or left to steep in a pool somewhere.

Cars do have marginal return rates to make them worth turning around and selling on the used lot by the dealers. Those that aren't good enough, go to auction, and those that fail that, get shredded. When I turned in my 15 year old Ford Explorer, 170,000 miles, a car that started every day, was safe to drive, everything basically worked, and had bad paint. I got $250 from the dealer for that, and I can guarantee that it got shredded. It wasn't worth it to me to sell it 3rd party, it's not worth it to someone else to ship it over seas, or clean it up and resell it. 2 tons of complicated engineering, moving parts, and steel. $250.

And nobody misses it. (Well, I do, a little.) But the market doesn't.

So, props to Apple. They've made a great commitment to try and go full cycle, to try and reuse as little new material as possible.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Must shred clause
by Alfman on Tue 25th Apr 2017 20:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Must shred clause"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

whartung,

The issue with "the public" isn't that there aren't enough cheap computers available. Is that the premise? We need more cheap laptops? The "Digital Divide", or whatever it's called today, is bandwidth and connectivity today, not hardware.

I imagine if you went to those self same recyclers that are currently shredding Apple products, you'll find that they're shredding everything else as well. I have not yet heard of some secret "recycler warehouse" of cheap, used computer hardware sponsored by Bob's Computer Recycling, where they sell all those old HPs, Thinkpads, and Dells. All of those products made by folks who, apparently, don't have a "must shred" clause.


You didn't read the article because it goes over how there is a market for used products and people are actively being turned away because of the must shread contracts. So it really is troubling that the recycling centers have all this stock of used components and aren't allowed to give it to people who want it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Must shred clause
by Kochise on Wed 26th Apr 2017 03:57 UTC in reply to "RE: Must shred clause"
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Apple has decided to take the responsibility of handling e-waste directly. The simple fact that I can call up Apple, and they'll send me a box so that I can ship back my creaky old VCR, which they've never made, for FREE, is a really amazing gift from Apple.

No, in the EU, it's an obligation for everyone selling electronics products to take back used ones for recycling, regardless of the origin and age. Don't worry, they make a good load of money out of the recycled rare earth and pcbs full of gold. Don't worry for them. Really.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Must shred clause
by acobar on Fri 28th Apr 2017 00:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Must shred clause"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

You are missing the forest for the tree. It is perfectly fine to Apple, or any other company, by the way, to see no value on fixing old hardware but it is totally different to make it obligatory to destroy old products. Let the company that process the products decide what it can make from them.

And, of course, if you want to sell products that contain hazardous materials you must receive them upon their end of life and have a plan to safely deal with them.

What Apple is trying to do is putting a straight face and a new paint to something they should be obligated to do and, at same time, trying to sell it only to support its own interests. Really, things should no be done this way.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Must shred clause
by viton on Tue 25th Apr 2017 22:09 UTC in reply to "Must shred clause"
viton Member since:
2005-08-09

rethink this position.

But why? It is the face of capitalism. The only value is money.
https://twitter.com/pilgrimdear/status/856548024302043137

Increasing consumption level in society is required for corporations to make more money.

Reply Score: 2

HAAS
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 25th Apr 2017 19:46 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

Hardware as a service. The coming revolution. I think in the future, most people won't actually own their phone/laptop/desktop. Just subscribe for an annual fee. New devices will arrive on a schedule, with those who pay more getting better devices faster.

I know, I'd kind of hate not owning things, but most people don't care. If you have a choice of buying a new iphone every year for $900 or just paying $300 a year and always getting a new phone every year. I'm guessing a lot of people would just do that.

Reply Score: 3

RE: HAAS
by M.Onty on Tue 25th Apr 2017 20:56 UTC in reply to "HAAS"
M.Onty Member since:
2009-10-23

Everyone I know with a high end smartphone already does this. They own the phone even after sent a new one, true, but only because its not worth taking back for the company. Its not a new idea either. When I was a kid our rotary phone was owned by British Telecom, rented as a part of the line rental agreement.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: HAAS
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 26th Apr 2017 13:54 UTC in reply to "RE: HAAS"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

If they don't send back the old smartphone, how is that renting?

Reply Score: 2

RE: HAAS
by ilovebeer on Wed 26th Apr 2017 02:51 UTC in reply to "HAAS"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

There's another option.. Remove the idea that you'll be purchasing a new phone every year or two because in reality nobody should need to. Instead of regarding phones as expensive short-term investments, they should view them as expensive long-term investments. Take care of your phone like it's a valuable item that you want/need to last a while. Buy a phone with the intention of using it for say at least 5+ years or until the battery starts dying. Get past the idea that you need the newest `precious` or you're a loser in society.

It's easy to point the finger at Apple (and other companies) and say their business model is the problem. Sure, but people's buying habits are the bigger problem. Consumers _can_ force change when they unify and use the power of the dollar as their weapon.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: HAAS
by Alfman on Wed 26th Apr 2017 04:48 UTC in reply to "RE: HAAS"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ilovebeer,

There's another option.. Remove the idea that you'll be purchasing a new phone every year or two because in reality nobody should need to. Instead of regarding phones as expensive short-term investments, they should view them as expensive long-term investments. Take care of your phone like it's a valuable item that you want/need to last a while. Buy a phone with the intention of using it for say at least 5+ years or until the battery starts dying. Get past the idea that you need the newest `precious` or you're a loser in society.


You are right, people need to change and disposable products need to be shunned, although I'm not sure how we get there...

It's easy to point the finger at Apple (and other companies) and say their business model is the problem. Sure, but people's buying habits are the bigger problem. Consumers _can_ force change when they unify and use the power of the dollar as their weapon.


With computers it's pretty easy to get by with an old machine, and generally unless your components are soldered in (curse you apple), you can improve performance and extend the life without too much effort.

However mobile devices are another story. From a hardware perspective many say making it upgradable is impractical. Fine, whatever. But from a software perspective it is inexcusable that users aren't able to independently upgrade phones like we can with computers. My phone is less than 2 years old and I'm already concerned that the manufacturer has not and probably never will release a new kernel for known vulnerabilities.

So long as end-user upgrades remain impractical, it doesn't matter if we blame linux drivers, manufacturers, google, etc - the end result is the same in any case: have to replace perfectly working phone hardware just to fix a software problem. There are a few paths for resolving this, but none of these parties have any interest in making it happen. :/


Like you, I'm becomming disenchanted with how shortsighted our collective decision making is.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: HAAS
by ilovebeer on Wed 26th Apr 2017 14:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: HAAS"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

If we look at this problem from a strictly security standpoint, maybe there should be some sort of legislation that says manufacturers must support at least security updates for a minimum of X years, and use national security as the justification. Law pushes automobile makers to issue safety updates/TSB's long after a vehicle is released, why should it be any different with cellphones and security patches? Companies may not like the idea but then consumers don't like the idea of buying a brand new phone that is intentionally software-deprecated soon afterwards. It's a great scam, I just wish it got more attention. Maybe John Oliver will do a show about it.

I know there are some people who truly do need to be at the most up-to-date, who do use a cellphone as their primary means of conducting legitimate business. But that doesn't describe the vast majority of people from what I've seen - Facebook, Pintrest, etc. does.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: HAAS
by darknexus on Wed 26th Apr 2017 15:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: HAAS"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Companies may not like the idea but then consumers don't like the idea of buying a brand new phone that is intentionally software-deprecated soon afterwards.

Really? The "OMG I got a new phone!" average-joe consumers do indeed seem to have no problem buying a phone every year or two. In fact, they seem to revel in the excuse to do just that. How much of an outcry has Samsung, for example, faced from consumers? Oh sure, the tech media and environmentalist movement as well as some governments cry out against this behavior, but consumers? I haven't seen a one.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: HAAS
by ilovebeer on Wed 26th Apr 2017 18:55 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: HAAS"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

Yes there are those types but there are a lot of people who aren't all giddy. You have people who are actually scared to use an "outdated" phone because they've convince it will get hacked. There's those who think things will magically stop working such as their favorite apps or the ability to use the internet. Many people believe phones just get slow and unusable over time with the only option being buying a new one. I see far more of these types of people over ones who tout around reveling in the fact they just bought _another_ new phone. If I had a dollar for everyone time I heard someone say they wished cellphones "lasted longer", I'd be typing this from a tropical beach. A whole lot of consumers feel pressured into buying new phones and they're attacked from every angle. I've never heard them express joy about it.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: HAAS
by Alfman on Wed 26th Apr 2017 16:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: HAAS"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ilovebeer,

If we look at this problem from a strictly security standpoint, maybe there should be some sort of legislation that says manufacturers must support at least security updates for a minimum of X years, and use national security as the justification.


Personally though I think it would be reasonable to give manufacturers the choice of supporting their phone themselves and/or publicly disclosing the toolchains so that 3rd party communities can support them without the manufacture (like many open source routers). However unless the business rules change somehow I don't see things getting any better with regards to either 3rd party support or manufacturer support.


Manufactures will keep dragging their feet unless there are explicit penalties for not complying, like some kind of cash refund owed to customers to go towards a replacement phone because the manufacturer is neglecting to provide security updates. By attaching penalties they're more likely to be proactive and take after sale support seriously.


Companies may not like the idea but then consumers don't like the idea of buying a brand new phone that is intentionally software-deprecated soon afterwards. It's a great scam, I just wish it got more attention. Maybe John Oliver will do a show about it.


Ha, my wife likes that show.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: HAAS
by ilovebeer on Wed 26th Apr 2017 19:09 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: HAAS"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

"If we look at this problem from a strictly security standpoint, maybe there should be some sort of legislation that says manufacturers must support at least security updates for a minimum of X years, and use national security as the justification.


Personally though I think it would be reasonable to give manufacturers the choice of supporting their phone themselves and/or publicly disclosing the toolchains so that 3rd party communities can support them without the manufacture (like many open source routers). However unless the business rules change somehow I don't see things getting any better with regards to either 3rd party support or manufacturer support.

Manufactures will keep dragging their feet unless there are explicit penalties for not complying, like some kind of cash refund owed to customers to go towards a replacement phone because the manufacturer is neglecting to provide security updates. By attaching penalties they're more likely to be proactive and take after sale support seriously.
"

I think that would be a great idea as long as the numbers (refund/penalties) are serious numbers where manufacturers have real motivation to do right. Sadly I don't see a way forward for something like this to happen. America, and by no means only America, has absolutely turned into a country of disposals; electronics, clothing, food, etc. Something breaks? Throw it out, buy a new one. Eventually this attitude towards `things` is going to come back to bite us big time but here and now, today, profit remains the top priority.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: HAAS
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 26th Apr 2017 17:23 UTC in reply to "RE: HAAS"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Probably didn't make that clear in my post, I was devising a solution for Device Manufacturers that would allow them to maintain their profitability as well as continue to recycle old devices. Kind of like how MS office has morphed into office 365. At that point the decision to upgrade or not to a new version of office is moot. You pay the same you were last month and just get the upgrade.


As upgrades to devices become as incremental as upgrades to desktop software have become, it makes sense to adopt the same business model.

Someone offline pointed me to a program At&t does that is simular. But controlled by the carriers.

Reply Score: 2

RE: HAAS
by Sidux on Wed 26th Apr 2017 06:47 UTC in reply to "HAAS"
Sidux Member since:
2015-03-10

Future? It's been almost 7 years when this started out like this (dotCloud investments that led to docker in 2013).
Now you have a plethora of solutions that wrap around the pay as you go process (where you are actually paying not for the rented hardware but for what you are actually processing).
Cost of ownership is still high. Today's teenagers do incline to not get involved in this. Not sure if there were any studies made regarding this aspect.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: HAAS
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 26th Apr 2017 13:53 UTC in reply to "RE: HAAS"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Well, yes in other industries this is more common. But for what is today consumer items its not common at all.

Reply Score: 2

they could simply charge for updates again
by rener on Tue 25th Apr 2017 20:17 UTC
rener
Member since:
2006-02-27

A much more environment, and actually user-friendly way would be to charge for OS updates again and finally allow proper App Store updates. This way people could use they hardware much longer, while the developer still get some money.

As an added bonus allow the installation of macOS on any hardware, they could still charge for the OS, and make even more money thru AppStore, video & music sales.

Heck, I can already today give Apple my money by purchasing from my Hackintosh in the App Store and ITunes, ...

Yet, my last dual-core g5 and my first MacPro were phased out rather quickly in a matter of few years, ... ;) with silly arguments, like 32-bit EFI. Yuck. Still can boot 64-bit Windows, Linux, and even macOS with some third-party, open source loader glue.

Sigh.

Reply Score: 1

woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

I'm not quite grasping how it would make sense to charge for the OS updates; Apple would then need to maintain parallel branches of the operating system, instead of the current modern, seamless method - the same one that Windows 10 has adopted.

That is, you pay once to use the OS, then you stay on the most current update; it minimises the potential for bugs, and ensures simpler support.

It's unlikely they'll ever allow macOS to be legally installed on non-Apple devices, given that they are a hardware company. The premium market is extremely lucrative; they're in the top 5 largest companies in the world, and all they do is sell 1-4 models each of phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.

Compare that to every single other hardware vendor out there, with their plethora of devices with razor-thin margins.

Apple tech costs money, which is precisely what makes it attractive; using their products is a symbol of being able to afford to buy premium goods.

Reply Score: 3

Why I buy enterprise
by Chrispynutt on Wed 26th Apr 2017 08:55 UTC
Chrispynutt
Member since:
2012-03-14

Its why I tend to get used or discount enterprise laptops.

So I have a HP Z Book. Got an amazing deal, everything is replaceable to my knowledge.
- MXM Graphics Card
- 4 ram slots
- socketed Wifi module
- MSATA SSD
- easy access HDD and Optical bays (I have a 2nd HDD in that now)
Access is as easy as: Take out the battery (one slider), 2nd slider the whole bottom plate comes off.

My Phone is a Galaxy Note 3, replaceble battery, SD expansion, upgradeable to wireless charging.

My Desktop was put together by me.

Reply Score: 4