GEEP Canada sold iPhones and Apple Watches meant for recycling

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Apple sent 1 lakh condemned iPhones and Watches to GEEP Canada for recycling, the company resold them as refurbished items

Apple is committed to environmental conservation and has already announced plans to make itself and its component suppliers carbon neutral by 2030. To achieve these goals, every year, Apple recycles millions of old and used iPhones, smartwatches, and other gadgets. But it seems one such recycling project went horribly wrong.

Apple had partnered with GEEP Canada to recycle nearly half a million units of iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches. These iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches were condemned goods and were considered to be scrap, disassembled, and recycled. But GEEP Canada had other plans. The company was taking in the iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches meant for recycling and instead selling them as refurbished items through the backdoor.

Apple has now sued GEEP Canada for cheating, negligence, and theft.  The Redmond based giant claims that GEEP Canada sold more than 1,00,000 iPhones and Apple Watches that were meant for recycling. It claims that GEEP Canada did this without the knowledge or consent of Apple.

In the lawsuit filed by Apple in January 2020, the iPhone maker claims that GEEP Canada had stolen around 1,03,845 products which were also admitted by the recycling firm. Apple in the lawsuit stated, “At least 11,766 pounds of Apple devices left GEEP’s premises without being destroyed a fact that GEEP itself confirmed.”

GEEP Canada has another story to tell. It says that the iPhones and other Apple products meant for recycling were actually stolen by three GEEP employees without the management’s knowledge. The GEEP Canada filed a countersuit in July 2020 stating that the three employees carried out the theft without the company’s knowledge.

Apple says that the three employees that GEEP Canada accuses of stealing the gadgets hold senior-management positions in the Canada-based recycling firm and thus it is completely at fault for the stolen Apple products.

In the lawsuit, Apple says that it sent 5,31,966 iPhones, 25,673 iPads, and 19,277 Apple Watches to GEEP Canada between January 2015 to December 2017. However, during the audit of the GEEP warehouse, Apple found that some of the units were not showing up in the audit. Apple decided to check the serial numbers of all the units it had shipped to the recycling firm. Subsequent investigations showed that the nearly 103845 iPhones/Smartwatches were active on various carrier networks. This meant that these 100K units that were meant to be disassembled and recycled were actually being sold outside GEEP Canada.

Apple in a statement to The Verge said, “Products sent for recycling are no longer adequate to sell to consumers and if they are rebuilt with counterfeit parts they could cause serious safety issues, including electrical or battery defect.”

Now, GEEP Canada is apparently looking for those ‘three employees’ who are responsible for the theft so that they can pay for the damages suffered by Apple. If Apple wins the lawsuit, GEEP Canada will have to pay approximately $22.7 million to the company.

Apple reiterated its commitment to environmental conservation. The Apple spokesperson stated that “We’re committed to one-day sourcing 100% recycled and renewable materials across all of our products and packaging. Because making doesn’t have to mean taking from the planet. For iPhone 11, we use 35 percent or more recycled plastic in multiple components.” And the same is expected for its upcoming iPhone 12 series phones.
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