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Apple Recycling Old Macs for Free

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-just-for-doorstops-anymore dept.

190

charleste writes "CNN is reporting that Apple is going to recycle Macs for free. I wonder if this means they will actually recycle them in Cupertino, or sent overseas to be dumped as many 'recycled' computers do, or if they will actually mine them. And does this make the MacQuarium obsolete?"

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I will do one better! (4, Funny)

crazyjeremy (857410) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228179)

In other news, I will now recycle ANY piece of computer equipment for free. Simply get the device to me (in working order) and I will disassemble, dismember, shoot, melt, sell or attack it with a cowbell.

Re:I will do one better! (3, Insightful)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228331)

I am also now offering a similar service, where I will just use the mac, hell, I'd even pay for the shipping... It seems like giving them away to people would be a far better way of getting rid of old, but still usable, computers... onyl recycle when they no longer work

Re:I will do one better! (4, Informative)

Darkon (206829) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228370)

It seems like giving them away to people would be a far better way of getting rid of old, but still usable, computers

Not necessarily. Often these old machines are highly inefficient in terms of the computing power they provide vs the electricity they consume. Sure, having one of these [sun.com] at home would be cool - in fact I did used to use the next model down as my home server - but these days I just don't want to either pay the power bill or try to justify the waste of resources. Sometimes it really is better just to let this old kit go to silicon heaven.

Re:I will do one better! (2, Interesting)

renoX (11677) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228456)

I don't know sure, the old computer is less efficient than a new one, but once you take into account the energy used to *make* the new computer, I doubt that you saved energy, more likely you wasted energy.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228899)

The energy used to make a computer is necessarily factored into its price; the manufacturers can't afford otherwise or they'd go out of business.

Therefore, you don't need to do very much fancy analysis to determine if it's worth buying a new computer or using an old one. If (cost of energy * expected use time for new computer + price of new computer) < (cost of energy * expected use time for old computer), then you're saving energy by buying a new one.

There are some externalities with the new computer, but if they added up to much they'd end up getting factored into the price again, most likely. (Most of the low-hanging fruit for internalizing externalities is gone.) You can minimize the externalities of trashing the old computer by recycling it. And thus the topic turns full circle...

Re:I will do one better! (4, Informative)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228463)

Maybe they don't want a repeat of the old Mac Clone - where people cold take the custom bios chips out of a defunct mac and use it to legally run a clone made by Franklin Computer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macintosh_clones [wikipedia.org]

a large amount of this system software was included in the Macintosh's ROM chips. Hence any competitor who attempted to create a Macintosh clone would have to either illegally duplicate all the copyrighted code in the ROMs -- in which case Apple could legally quash the manufacturer -- or reverse-engineer the ROMs, which would have been an enormous and costly process without certainty of success.

The strategy of suppressing clone development was successful; from 1986 to 1991, several manufacturers created Macintosh clones, obtaining their ROMs by actually purchasing one of Apple's Macintosh computers and removing from it the required parts, then installing those parts in the clone's case.

...

Before true clones were available, the Atari ST could be converted into a Mac by adding the third-party Spectre GCR emulator (which required that the user purchase a set of Mac ROMs). The Amiga could also be converted into a Mac with similar emulators. Since Apple Computer never manufactured a 68060 based Mac, the fastest way to run native 68000 MacOS applications on real hardware was to run it on an Atari or Amiga.

So your dead mac is worth money. Pull the roms, send the rest back.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228562)

Back before there were powerbooks (in fact before I was into Macs) there was a company that made Mac portables. The catch was that you had to remove the ROM and the CPU and install it into the laptop. Anyone remember the name of the company that sold these and what they were called?

Re:I will do one better! (1)

outZider (165286) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228786)

That would be the DynaMac [everymac.com] . :)

Re:I will do one better! (2, Interesting)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228641)

I don't think this has to do with Mac Clones. I think this is just one way that Apple can continue to be progressive in their marketing.

Maybe I have a skewed view of the typical Mac user - but I consider them more progressive, open to new technologies and, well - maybe even more likely to be a vegetarian or drive an economical but classy car then a PC user.

You must remember that Microsoft won't be able to compete on this level - they don't make the hardware and likely won't recycle it for free. The average computer users sees Apple or Microsoft as the two choices. Maybe something like this will appeal to some undecided buyers.

Re:I will do one better! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228686)

Apple's customers are like no others--a rich blend of the most sociologically elite [atspace.com] with those seeking elegant [atspace.com] , simple computing... Unlike users of Intel/Windows computers, a significant portion of Apple's users are active [atspace.com] , exploratory [atspace.com] , avant-garde [atspace.com] and early adopters [atspace.com] . The activities they enjoy are unique in the way that they more often incorporate rich media such as video [atspace.com] and music [atspace.com] as well as more active prosumer behavior than many more passive Windows [atspace.com] [and Linux [atspace.com] ] users.

-- MetaFacts, Inc. [metafacts.com]


With above-average household income and education levels, the Mac population [atspace.com] [is] very attractive [ intellectually [atspace.com] as well as physically [atspace.com] .]

-- Nielsen/NetRatings (as quoted by C|NET [com.com] )


Re:I will do one better! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228730)

Using that link for physically attractive? Yeah... she's showing off cleavage, but that's about it. Maybe it's just the angle of the photo, but her face is kinda jacked up. But considering that Mac users are supposed to be in the aesthetic elite, every one of their pictures is composed absolutely perfect, no?

Re:I will do one better! (1)

Dis*abstraction (967890) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228809)

Well, I think she's hot. But it's been my experience that we Mac users go for the dark, sarcastic, chain-smoking brunettes instead of your typical ditzy Windows-using middle America blondes. Yeah, we think different like that.

Re:I will do one better! (2, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228751)

So your dead mac is worth money. Pull the roms, send the rest back.

10 years ago that was true. Now it's cheaper to buy a used G3 or G4 Mac entire than screw around with clones or emulation (if any of these are still sold at all) of an obsolete OS.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228972)

So your dead mac is worth money. Pull the roms, send the rest back.

10 years ago that was true. Now it's cheaper to buy a used G3 or G4 Mac entire than screw around with clones or emulation (if any of these are still sold at all) of an obsolete OS.

Depends on what you want to do. Having a legit copy of the roms means being able to legitimately run emulators on todays hardware - a lot faster than a G3.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

IntlHarvester (11985) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228944)

A few points:

1) Franklin was an Apple II clone with pirated Apple firmware. Nothing to do with Macs

2) In the 68K days, many Macs came with ROMs socketed in SIMM slots, so they were very easy to remove and use in a clone system. At my university, these ROM SIMMs were frequently stolen by dasterdly Amigians and Atarians.

3) Some of the later official PPC clones had ROMs, but they were soldered on rather than socketed. At this point the ROM was basically a copy-protection dongle rather than something that saved cost.

4) I believe starting with MacOS 9, they removed the ROM requirement from the OS. Of course now they use TCPA for similar purposes.

Re:I will do one better! (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228471)

I still have an E450 running at home, 4x 480mhz cpus and 4gig ram... It's far cheaper than a modern system capable of handling the same kind of load. It may not be the best system for brute force processing, but it's very stable and will handle a high load easily.

Re:I will do one better! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228652)

I still have an E450 running at home, 4x 480mhz cpus and 4gig ram... It's far cheaper than a modern system capable of handling the same kind of load. It may not be the best system for brute force processing, but it's very stable and will handle a high load easily.

In what way exactly is it "far cheaper" than an equivalent modern system? Surely not in terms of energy consumption. And surely not in terms of purchase cost, as one can easily buy a new, modern system that is more capable for less than one can purchase a used E450. A brand new system with 4GB ram that could smoke your E450 in every possible way can be had for $600.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228671)

It may not be the best system for brute force processing, but it's very stable and will handle a high load easily.

But really, how much high load do you really need at home, anyway?

Even if you're in the hosting business (and who in their right mind would do that from home?), throughput would be much more important than load.

I suppose you could be a computational chemist or doing bioinformatics stuff from home, but even then, I would think it would be cheaper to get a few x86 boxes and cluster them for compute power and it would still be less energy.

Re:I will do one better! (0, Troll)

localman (111171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228510)

That doesn't sound right to me. Older machines often use less energy -- at least every time I've built a new machine over the past decade the power supply got bigger. Sure, they are less powerful too, but then they probably won't be used for the most modern computing tasks.

Aside from that, reuse is always more efficient than recycling. So if you can use something that has already been manufactured and shipped, instead of buying something new, go for it.

Cheers.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

jolshefsky (560014) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228689)

Often these old machines are highly inefficient in terms of the computing power they provide vs the electricity they consume.

Yes, computing power-per-watt is less, but:

  • Sometimes that's all the computing power someone needs. Further, using an older machine that requires less power (i.e. my Mac LCIII ran at about 20 watts versus 70 watts for my PowerBook) would therefore be more efficient.
  • You also need to consider the energy and resources to dispose of the old machine. Don't forget about the non-dollar costs such as environmental damage -- even though it's "free" (i.e. my area; albeit through taxes) to put a computer in the garbage, there are other costs to consider.
  • You also need to consider the energy and resources it takes to build the new machine. Plus you need to consider the resources to dispose of the new machine.

Taken together, I would bet that continuing to use an old machine would be more cost effective.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

slashdot4win (971219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228964)

Often these old machines are highly inefficient in terms of the computing power they provide vs the electricity they consume.

Which is fine if you steal power from your neighbor.

all of your iPods are belong to me (1)

squizzz (925033) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228548)

I for one, unlike parent, who obviously is trying to build Beowulf cluster here, gladly help to recycle your iPods. Thank you.

Re:I will do one better! (1)

steveargonman (183377) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228620)

If you're concerned about where Apple sill send them, you can always send them to Computer Drop Off [computerdropoff.org] and they're *gauranteed* to be recycled properly in Portland, OR. It's ran by a friend of mine.

Some Context (2, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228750)

In California, and many other places, it's now illegal to just throw old electronics in the trash. So Apple is actually supplying a valuable service.

me too (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228180)

i recycle old macs on ebay

MacAquarium (1)

Alcimedes (398213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228197)

That was one of the best things to do with an SI. I used to make them somewhat regularly, they were fun and great conversation pieces. Plus they were the perfect size for a college desk.

Re:MacAquarium (1)

macboygrey (828059) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228244)

They're incredible. I was determined to build on, but it took me about 3 months to bring myself to gut the *working* SE (FDHD) that someone gave me for the project... it looks good though: http://www.mac-boy.com/fishtank.jpg [mac-boy.com]

Re:MacAquarium (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228487)

The Macquarium SE on my desk (I do tech support at an art school) is easily the most-commented-about aspect of my office decor... which also includes several paintings, photographs, and other works of art I've created. {shrug}

My other recycling project is upgrading a Mac SE to run OS X. Nothing terribly challenging, just an SVGA 9" CRT and a Mac Mini mounted inside. The best part of that is the "Mac SE X" nameplate on the front. {grin}

Of course Macquaria are really tangential to the question of Mac recycling, since the components most in need of special disposal (CRT, circuit boards) are discarded in the process of making one, regardless.

Re:MacAquarium (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228556)

Out of curiousity, where do you get a 9" CRT with decent resolution? I think it would be easier to find a LCD, since those are going in mini-DVD players and in-car video all the time. Sounds like a cool project, though... I might rip you off and make my own.

Re:MacAquarium (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228722)

My initial plan was to use an LCD, but I couldn't find one the right size and shape. Most of the LCDs being made in the 9-10" range are "widescreen" format, and/or overpriced touch screens. I finally went with a same-size monochrome CRT, to keep the original look of the system, and to draw out the "wait, how did you..." reaction a little longer from those who realize instinctively that there's no way OS X could ever run on a stock SE. ("Well, I had to piggyback a G4 upgrade card on top of a PowerPC replacment CPU, but the hard part was converting the memory addressing bus from kilobytes to megabytes...")

The CRT I found (eBay) does 800x600 and was originally designed for use on point-of-sale computers. I would've prefered 1024x768, but that'd be pretty tiny on a 9" screen, so it wasn't a great loss settling for mere SVGA. And since I'll be using it mainly as a file/web server, a relative low-res display isn't really a problem.

By the way, I used an original G4 Mini instead of the new Intel units to maintain compatibility with Classic apps that really would run on an original SE. I'm hoping to fool at least one person into thinking that it's an SE hacked to do greyscale, before I close Photoshop 3.0 and show him it's running on OS X.

iMacquarium (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228708)

Can't do it with the flat panel Luxo Jr. iMacs, though. That would be cruelty to the fish since there barely some space between the front and the back. OTOH, they probably make great ant farms. :) The stainless steel arm must be welded, though, or at least tightened up to make up for the weight difference.

None of the above (0)

GarfBond (565331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228198)

Or, more than likely, sent overseas to be mined.

kids these days! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228213)

constantly masturbating!

Not about being green (2, Insightful)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228214)

This isn't about being green, it is about removing older macs from the 2nd hand market. The exact same reason that HP offers a similar program.

Re:Not about being green (3, Interesting)

anonicon (215837) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228246)

This isn't about being green, it is about removing older macs from the 2nd hand market. The exact same reason that HP offers a similar program.

OK. As long as it achieves the same effect, whether by some altruistic concern for the environment or through sheer greed, it's all good. Besides, it helps the individual Mac resllers who will be able to maintain a greater profit margin on used equipment due to less product glut on the open market.

Chuck

Re:Not about being green (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228278)

If someone can sell their mac in the second-hand market, why would they give it to Apple for free? Your criticism makes no sense.

Re:Not about being green (2, Informative)

moo083 (716213) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228386)

Not exactly. They don't just take Macs. They take any old computer. Theoretically, if you still wanted to use your old computer, you could give them the computer that was the old one before you got the new one. At some point, you'll want to get rid of the old one. It seems really wierd right now, but at some point, its likely that I will want to recycle this Macbook Pro in front of me. Precisely, it will likely be in six years, which is three years after I buy my next computer.

Re:Not about being green (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228474)

In 6 years, I'd probably still take it assuming its still working. :(

Re:Not about being green (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228479)

Judging by the way the used Mac market works currently, in six years you can probably sell it for $300 - $500. OTOH, if you have a G3 product or a sub Ghz G4, it probably won't be worth your while to sell. Higher speed G4s will be borderline, and G5s will probably still be worth something, despite the transition to Intel.

Re:Not about being green (1)

Jeffrey Baker (6191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228884)

The dividing line seems to be which computers can run the latest Mac OS X and which cannot. The Pismo model PowerBook G3 is still relatively valuable (about $400) while the older models of the same laptop, which have the same CPU but lack FireWire ports and cannot run Tiger, are worth rather less.

Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition vs. Apple (4, Informative)

reporter (666905) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228388)

DAldredge (2353) incorrectly stated, "This isn't about being green, ..." On the contrary, the CNN report [cnn.com] mentioned in the lead article starting this thread of discussion talks explicitly about recycling.

How has Apple handled recycling?

According to the "The 2005 Computer Report Card [svtc.org] " by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, "Apple, Dell, Gateway, and HP are the companies that use recyclers that have signed the Electronic Recyclers Pledge of Stewardship. To learn more about the Recycler Pledge go to: http://www.svtc.org///cleancc/recycle/recycler_ple dge.htm [svtc.org] ".

In that report, note that Apple received the second highest score in the category of "DISPOSAL CHAIN". That category indicates the degree to which a company will audit the entire disposal chain (including work sub-contracted to suspicious companies in China, Taiwan Province, and Korea) to ensure that recycling of old computer equipment is done in accordance with the most ethical, most responsible practices.

Note that Apple management actually signed the Electronics Recycler's Pledge of True Stewardship [svtc.org] , committing to the gold standard of ethical, responsible recycling.

Finally, the recent decision by Apple management to take back old equipment for free is probably due to the tireless efforts of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition [svtc.org] (SVTC) and other groups in the Computer TAKE-BACK Campaign [computertakeback.com] (CTBC). When Steve Jobs gave the keynote speech at the 2005 graduation ceremony at Stanford University, CTBC flew a banner over the ceremony [e-takeback.org] . The banner exclaimed, "STEVE - DON'T BE A MINI PLAYER - RECYCLE ALL E-WASTE".

Re:Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition vs. Apple (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228461)

"Taiwan Province"?

There's a term I haven't heard in a long time, at not from anyone who isn't a communist actively interested in expansion!

China, Taiwan Province, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228611)

That'll start a world war. I don't care, because it'll be fought with YOUR children.


Wait until the USians find out Cuba will start oil drilling 45 miles offshore of the Keys, and slant drill under Florida. And these leases were sold by the Nature Conservancy to China. Pow! Bam! Spiff!


Again, not with my grandchildren. Ignorant school child.

Re:Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition vs. Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228753)

reporter (666905) wrote "On the contrary, the CNN report mentioned in the lead article starting this thread of discussion talks explicitly about recycling."

He believes everything he reads.

Re:Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition vs. Apple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228757)

According to the "The 2005 Computer Report Card [svtc.org]" by the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, "Apple, Dell, Gateway, and HP are the companies that use recyclers that have signed the Electronic Recyclers Pledge of Stewardship.

Well, why didn't they say that up front then? I mean, if they signed a PLEDGE and all, they must be above board. My god, it's a PLEDGE. How impressive.

In that report, note that Apple received the second highest score in the category of "DISPOSAL CHAIN". That category indicates the degree to which a company will audit the entire disposal chain (including work sub-contracted to suspicious companies in China, Taiwan Province, and Korea) to ensure that recycling of old computer equipment is done in accordance with the most ethical, most responsible practices.

Being ranked "second highest" doesn't mean shit. No company wants to officially know what happens to the waste they're shipping out. The "second highest" audit score probably just means that they asked the recyclers to "cross your heart and hope to die" when they swore to uphold their PLEDGE. When I read bullshit press releases so full of obvious deception, I often wonder who they think is gullible enough to be fooled. Now I know: it's people like you.

Indeed... (2, Informative)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228995)

The Computer Take-Back Campaign was canvassing this neighborhood for signatures and all just about a week or so ago.

They've been really aggressive about getting letters, etc. to Jobs and BOD members about doing take-backs on the computers (They already do them on iPods for free...) and to handle the returns in a responsible manner.

Re:Not about being green (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228424)

Your posting history seems to indicate your bitterness at Steve Jobs goes back a long way. Wherefore this crusade against Apple? Just because you're a 31-year old loser stuck in the backwoods of Texas, Darren, doesn't mean you have to resent your betters for being successful.

Re:Not about being green (2, Informative)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228428)

It's Saturday, you don't have to sip the anti-koolaid today.

What you wrote might be true if the program was restricted to recycling old Macs. This program covers any computer; the only requirement is that you purchase a new Mac to participate. More details [apple.com] . More info [apple.com] .

HP, AFAIK, charges a small fee [hp.com] to recycle your computer.

If you're going to slag on companies, at least get your info straight. Then you'll have some factual basis for your cynicism.

recycling... (2, Interesting)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228220)

what all is involved in recycling a computer? I know there is quite a bit of lead on the circuit boards that needs to be handled properly, but what exactly do they do with it?

Re:recycling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228265)

but what exactly do they do with it?

put it on Ebay

100,000 computers at 10$ each is a nice profit

Re:recycling... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228336)

I'm not too worried about the lead, since it's not particularly toxic and is quite safe to handle, with the exception of a few chemical compounds that contain lead. I'm worried about the dopants used in the ICs, the glaze on PC board, and the extremely dangerous phosphorus contained inside the CRTs.

That said, my vote is for dumping, since it would be more wasteful and polluting, energy-wise, to reduce the electronics to usable stock of "raw" materials. Aside from that, I know of at least one company that reduces the electronics to parts, and sells them. So it's quite do-able, however, the broken parts still get dumped.

Re:recycling... (2, Interesting)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228499)

Removing the lead is only a small part. Computers usually go through the following process, although this is a large educated guess this should be somewhat accurate.

1. Working systems and parts are donated to charity.
2. Parts that don't work or are too old are usually taken apart to get the precious metals and dangerous stuff out.
3a. If the component is a PC board the copper and lead are recycled or the lead is properly handled.
3b. If the component is an IC it is stripped to get the valuable gold out.
3c. If the component is a battery it is handled accordingly. (I have a nice collection of CR2032s)
3d. If the component is a CRT the tube is recycled accordingly. Very few CRTs are all new.
4. The materials are sold as raw materials and a small (or large) profit is made.

As a rule I require the following things to be reused:

Any part that can be reused in the foreseeable future. For some commercial applications this may even include 386/486 computers for diskless workstations.

As a rule I require the following things to be recycled:

Lead Acid Batteries because it is the LAW!
Nickle Cadmium Batteries (I don't practice this as much as I like)

I don't work for a business or any kind, I am a home user and support my mom's computer habits. (Very Stressful especally when our mice operate on the same channel and will not change)

Re:recycling... (2, Informative)

jridley (9305) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228504)

I don't know about Apple's program, but in general electronics "recycling" involves shipping them to some impoverished country where people making practically nothing remove chips from boards by burning them over a coal fire to melt the lead/tin solder.
As you can imagine, these people are not exactly working in healthy conditions. In fact, the report I was listening to recently said that the operations were polluting the area so badly that this little village by a river had to start importing bottled water because the river was now poisonous. It's also likely that the ground will be unable to support crops for hundreds of years (until the toxins ALL wash into the river and downstream to poison some other places).
All in all, you're probably better dumping the stuff in a landfill here. At least in the US, landfills are contained areas that are monitored and controlled. Send them to a "recycler" and they'll get released into the environment in the worst possible ways.

This came from Steve (2, Insightful)

thatguywhoiam (524290) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228222)

I'll bet this is a directive from SJ. He's a pretty green dude.

I remember a quote from him once, pretty excellent example of Steve Jobs' mentality actually. It was both very poetic and utterly ridiculous. This was from back in the early Apple days before he was fired by Scully. He said (paraphrasing), 'I want a computer factory that takes raw beach sand in one end and outputs fully assembled Macs from just that raw material.' What a crazy, wonderful idea.

Re:This came from Steve (2, Funny)

minitual (966089) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228415)

That wasn't Steve talking...that was the acid.

Re:This came from Steve (3, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228515)

'I want a computer factory that takes raw beach sand in one end and outputs fully assembled Macs from just that raw material.'

Great, so there goes another ecologically important wildlife habitat and economically important tourism attraction! :)

Ill trade it in (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228232)


thats what the car market does, the dealer will take my old car for exchange for a discount on my new car, perhaps Apple should do the same, free isnt good enough

Old Computers are a Gold Mine (5, Informative)

coffeecan (842352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228261)

Literally. There is more gold per-ton in old computer parts than gold ore, and its cheaper to extract. so it makes sense given the recent rise of precious metals for apple to salvage as much of these resources as possible. This Free program is probably going to turn a profit.

Re:Old Computers are a Gold Mine (5, Informative)

shashi (56458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228301)

Very true. There are also a lot of metals besides gold that are worth more (though in smaller amounts, like platinum). I've been part of a business before where we chunked up old Macs and PCs, packed all the circuit boards up in huge wooden crates, and sent them off to a recovery mill... a couple months later, a few tons of scrap is turned into a check for $20,000. It's not bad money but it takes a lot of manual labor to separate it out (i.e. separating circuits from CRT's and plastic) or the mill will charge you to do the separation and sorting.

Also, newer computers have much lower amounts of these materials, making them almost worthless. The sweet spot are the 68020's and 486's (the heavy processors are where you get the most precious metals per oz.).

Re:Old Computers are a Gold Mine (1)

isaacklinger (966649) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228606)

1. sell computers
2. get them back for free
3. harvest precious metals
4. ???
5. iBling!

batteries (1)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228263)

Apple has been doing this with batteries for years. If you have old batteries from apple products, just take them to the apple store and they will take them off your hands for you. This is a much better option than sending it to a landfill.

Obsolete? (2, Insightful)

oneiros27 (46144) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228264)

No, no... cost more...

When there are less items available on the market, the value increases if there's still a demand for it. (if there's no demand, then the value's effectively 0)

The conspiracy theorist would assume that Apple's trying to corner the market on MacQuariums, and they need more spare parts, so they're tricking people into giving them the parts under the assumption of 'recycling' (which it is). They might even have a company that's willing to buy lots of thousands of these for the very purpose. (pbfixit comes to mind)

They might also find that it's more cost effective to strip and refurb some machines than to have new parts manufactured for those with extended warranties. (this assumes that the product is on the market long enough for people to recycle out of warranty machines while other people still have them under warranties)

why not... (1, Redundant)

radicalnerd (930674) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228268)

donate them to poor urban schools, or third world countries?
[like that'll happen, but it's an idea anyway]

Re:why not... (1)

flobberchops (971724) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228378)

Do YOU do that with your old HardDrives, Keyboards, Mice and any other component you upgrade?

Re:why not... (2, Insightful)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228419)

donate them to poor urban schools, or third world countries?

Urban schools have plenty of technology, thanks to programs like E-rate. What they don't have is people to set it up, whether it's old junk like this or brand new machines. Take a walk around a typical city school some time; it's enlightening.

(I live in Buffalo, not an exceptionally wealthy city by any means.)

--saint

Re:why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228910)

Urban schools have plenty of technology, thanks to programs like E-rate. What they don't have is people to set it up, whether it's old junk like this or brand new machines. Take a walk around a typical city school some time; it's enlightening.

What they don't have is basic literacy, and all the technology in the world can't change that.

Re:why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228423)

two reasons against that, basically:
1) shipping costs and customs charges
2) lawsuits & liability

A lot of 'third world' countries have HUGE tariffs on the imported computer equipment. Russia in the early 1990's here comes to mind, where it was actually cheaper to pay for a round-trip ticket to America and buy a laptop there than to import it into Russia and pay all the customs fees

Re:why not... (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228616)

umm... power? I computer is useless without power. You think those in poverty want a higher electricity bill (assuming they even have electricity)? Also assuming they are able to get electricity, what are the chances it will be quality enough to allow the system to run well (many poor places have varying voltage and current, and frequent blackouts).

Re:why not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228710)

Because poor urban schools and 3rd world countries don't want useless junk.

Re:why not... (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228764)

donate them to poor urban schools, or third world countries? [like that'll happen, but it's an idea anyway]

It does happen, but that's passing the ecological disaster on, and not dealing with it.

Re:why not... (0)

Illbay (700081) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228916)

I don't know about the rest of the world, but here in the U.S., "poor urban schools" aren't really very poor.

For example, the District of Columbia spends $12,801 per student, about 150% of the national average. You can bet the school administrators in D.C. would sneer at your offer to give them obsolete old computers.

There is a negative correlation regarding amount of spending on schools, urban or "rural," poor vs. middle class. This is the result of decades of throwing money at the problem at the behest of the REAL beneficiaries of school funding, the education bureaucrats.

In contrast, you have states like North Dakota, spending $7,727 per pupil, yet the rate of H.S. graduation and achievment test scores in North Dakota DWARFS that of D.C.

Private schools' average tuition is about $8,000 per pupil per year in urban areas, and their graduation success rates are far beyond those of the urban publc schools in the same areas.

You want to help "poor urban students"? Get behind efforts to strengthen marriage and family. You'll do a lot more good there than pitching recycled computers to them.

ever so timely and accurate (2, Funny)

DynamoJoe (879038) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228292)

A little research is a wonderful thing [apple.com]
. Ahh, /. All the news that's fit to print several days ago.

Re:ever so timely and accurate (1)

Ohreally_factor (593551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228367)

CUPERTINO, California--April 21, 2006--Apple® today announced an expansion of its successful recycling program. . . .

More like a week ago.

Is this big news? I dunno. I guess it's a good thing.

A rebate would grease them skids! (2, Funny)

phorest (877315) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228296)

Wow, why not a rebate of say 100.00 to make a user switch from win-ux and just fill a warehouse with the junk.


When it's full they can have a new ad campaign with bulldozers loading barges with all the junk and crow about how many people switched. They could probably write it all off as marketing costs and sell more hardware to boot!. Apple wins!

Reuse rather than recycle (2, Insightful)

Larry Lightbulb (781175) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228304)

If the machines are still working, then reusing them is going to be better than ripping them apart for the gold.

Staying in the US (4, Informative)

bizard (691544) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228314)

At the announcement, Jobs specifically said that the recycling would all be done in the U.S. and not just shipped off to China.

Re:Staying in the US (2, Funny)

ThatsNotFunny (775189) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228382)

So much for sending the dead computers back to the place where they were born.

In other news (0, Flamebait)

almostmanda (774265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228326)

Ford will recycle your old car....for free! As soon as your Mustang gets a few scuffs on it and you want a brand new one, bring it in and they will take it off your hands and crush it into a cube! At absolutely no cost to you! Wow, what an amazingly environmentally conscious company!

Seriously, apple has a vested interest in keeping people buying new computers, not used ones. Most major computer manufacturers have this sort of program, and it amazes me that some people think that because THEY have no use for their computer, no one does, and it has to be destroyed somehow. I know a lot of those morons would just throw it in the garbage otherwise, but still--let's not celebrate Apple for being a different, progressive company. They're not doing anything special.

Re:In other news (2, Insightful)

c_forq (924234) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228647)

A few points:
1)This isn't only Apple computers, they will recycle computers made by anyone.
2)I'm sure if the computer has value people will sell it. I put an old 486 up on EBay before (working Pentium system). No one even bid a dollar on it, something like that has no value on the market I could find, if this program was around then I would have recycled it, but it ended up going into the trash.

Re:In other news (1)

Arcady13 (656165) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228727)

Of course no one bid on it, if you listed it as a 486 that was a working Pentium. Since that description makes no sense (a 486 and a Pentium are two different processors) nobody wanted to guess what you were really selling and take the risk. Most failed eBay auctions are the result of poor descriptions and a lack of photos.

Overseas and dumped is my bet... (0, Redundant)

Super Dave Osbourne (688888) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228350)

I want in my heart to believe that companies in general do the right thing, but what makes the most sense is the economics of recycling. A good portion of all things recycled actually go to landfills. My guess and bet is that the system in place, the path of least resistance is the one that once out of Apple's hands will be employed to hand the Macs being 'recycled'.

Re:Overseas and dumped is my bet... (2, Interesting)

shawb (16347) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228820)

If this is done properly (Which is much more likely if the actual recycling is done in the U.S. as Apple claims) this is a lot better than just dumping your old gear in the trash. A fair amount of the heavy metals can be expected to be stripped out for reuse, those parts which are not economically recyclable will be divided into two parts: general waste which is disposed of at any old landfill, and toxic materials which are disposed of at designated facilities that monitor groundwater perfusion, etc. But if the old parts are shipped off to a third world nation, chances are the end result will be less environmentally friendly than just dumping the old gear in the trash for the garbage man to deal with.

Apple recycling old COMPUTERS for free (3, Interesting)

BearRanger (945122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228361)

Not just Macs. Steve Jobs' quote at the shareholders meeting was something like: "We like switchers too."

They'll recycle PCs too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228362)

Steve Jobs said during the shareholders' meeting that they'd also recycle PCs, not only Macs. You just need to buy a Mac before they'll take your old computer.

They'll recycle your Dell too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228425)

They are offering to recycle any PC... and they are doing it for free, and properly. They have earned accolades from the Sierra Club for this plan.

Not just Macs... (2, Informative)

zigziggityzoo (915650) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228429)

Apple will recycle ANY computer you decide to unload on them when you purchase a new computer. Even your old 486 Win 3.1 box. That way, switchers get in on the recycling action too.

Here's a snippet from the Shareholder meeting stating so. [tripod.com]

Dell already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228430)

Dell already offers a recycle program, for ANY computer, if you buy a Dell. They ship you, at no extra cost, a postage paid shipping container for your old computer.

Yawn... if Apple does it, it's big news, if a lowly PC manufacturer that people like to complain about does it, it's no big deal.

Re:Dell already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228908)

Probably more "if a company that ships computers with Windows installed does it, Slashdotters won't care much."

This may sound like a troll, but I feel that way as well.

from the press release... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228466)

Equipment received by the program in the US is recycled domestically and no hazardous material is shipped overseas.

Free recycling in Norway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228555)

In Norway, all stores, producers and importers are required by law to accept (for free) the same categories of equipment as they sell, for recycling. It is financed by taxing all companies that sell or import (new) products with a recycling tax. It's seems to be working pretty well.

May this be a good solution for other countries as well?

Other uses than destroying? (1)

MeanQuestion (878758) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228589)

I'd honestly rather see these computers given schools than destroyed. Anything that originally shipped with OS 7 and above is still useful today. Simply install a not-so-demanding verson of Linux on in, and you can teach classes in navigating unix-like environments or a simple programming 101 courses.

Thats the kind of stuff schools should teaching anyway. Not "this is how you use a mouse and PowerPoint" type classes.

Re:Other uses than destroying? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228794)

I'd honestly rather see these computers given schools than destroyed.

Consider the nightmare of supporting a classroom of unique computers. Better to put up some ads and offer it cheap (if free, someone will just take it and try to sell it and probably end up throwing it away) and it'll probably end up with someoen who can use it. Schools would be better getting a bunch of Mac Minis.

Not Just Macs - They'll take PCs too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15228645)

its not just macs they'll recycle. they'll recycle PCs as well ... as Mr. Jobs said during the shareholder's meeting, they like switchers :)

Taking over the world (2, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228666)

- Steve Jobs wants to take over the world
- Apple all of a sudden recycles computers for free
- Steve Jobs owns Apple

This can mean only one thing: Steve Jobs has a new trapper keeper.

Um..not just Apple.. (1)

denoir (960304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228771)

In the EU, in accordance to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive [eu.int] all produces of electrical and electronic devices are required by law to recycle the stuff they use - free of charge to the customer.

It doesn't matter if it's an light bulb or a missile defense system - the consumer can and is encouraged to return it to the producer. If it is not (if you dump it somewhere else), a bill for the recycling cost is sent to the producer anyway.

what the article actually says (1)

DietFluffy (150048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228787)

am i missing something?

not free (you need to buy a mac). not macs (any computer as long as you buy a mac)

Privacy concerns? (1)

Parallax Blue (836836) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228799)

Hey, I know Apple is definitely NOT Microsoft, but it's still a big corporation. What are they doing about privacy concerns related to old data stored on the computer hard drives? I'd expect it to be a problem because the majority of the people who would use this service may not know how to properly get rid of any data on their hard drives, and taking apart the computer to get at the hard drive may be too much to expect.

Blanket rebuttle to passing the buck... (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228801)

There are a lot of theorists posting, "Why not donate the old machines to [insert education or third-world country here]?"

Well, the answer to that is very simple: Because you are passing the ecological disaster on and not dealing with it. Off the cuff, it sounds like a good idea, however, a developing nation is not going to have the resources to deal with recycling the hand-me-down computers that we passed off to them so we didn't have to properly recycle them.

Let's just properly recycle the old crap and sell them new machines with fewer parts and less of a recycling burden. No one says we have to use the latest and greatest things performance-wise in what is made for them, but dumping our junk on a less fortunate country is just wrong people!

Easiest for the PowerBook 5300 (1)

sulli (195030) | more than 8 years ago | (#15228823)

Just plug it in and wait for it to explode!
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