Another dot in the blogosphere?

Recycling, refurbished, rejected

Posted on: September 25, 2021

This is a PSA of sorts. If you want to recycle an Apple product in Singapore via a trade-in scheme, you have to do so through an Apple partner.

There is just one local partner and it tries to be helpful by asking you for your device’s serial number. It does not tell you that only some devices are eligible.

Brightstar, Apple trade-in parter in Singapore.

I have used the service often enough to learn that it rejects items that were refurbished by Apple. It only seems to accept first-time purchased Apple products. Items that are vintage and obsolete — whether first-time or refurbished — also get rejected. This does not make sense given that the aim is to return the item so that parts and materials can be salvaged instead of mining the earth and manufacturing new parts.

However, the partner company will gladly accept a refurbished, vintage, obsolete item I donate. The company benefits financially and I do not. I would rather recycle items through ALBA or donate the items to a worthy cause, and I have.

One result of this selective trade-in practice is that I keep using old devices. My son has a hand-me-down iPhone 7 (the latest model number is 13) and the family uses a late 2012 iMac and a late 2012 Mac Mini.

This would be fine if Apple services them when they break down. Unfortunately, this task is outsourced to third-party players who charge a premium for their services. I had to repair the 2012 iMac twice and I could have bought a brand-new M1 iMac or a new Mini with external monitor for what I paid.

Refurbished Apple products initially cost less than original items, but I have discovered that I need to hang on to them longer than I need because the lone partner company that collects them has a strange stance. This could mean that I pay more over the long term to maintain my items. It also means that I look for other ways to donate or recycle them when they outlive their usefulness.

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