Unfair share: Only one company’s environmental record gets examined

And it's the one that's already doing more.


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The flowchart for writing an article complaining about e-waste is pretty simple. “Do you want to write an article about e-waste?” has two destinations: “No” leads to “END”, “Yes” leads to “Make it all about Apple.”

Writing for Mashable, Damon Beres details “The rotten hypocrisy of Apple’s environmental promises.” (Tip o’ the antlers to Brent Dennison and JoJoGabo.)

Your iPhone won’t last forever, even if you want it to.


[hugs iPhone SE]

You’ll crack the screen, or its battery will crap out, and if the physical flaws don’t get you, the software will…


[whispers to iPhone SE] Shhh. Don’t listen to him. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Because, duh, corporations like Apple like money more than anything, no matter how glossy their environmental websites are…

Welcome to capitalism. It’s… kind of been around for a while now.

Advocacy groups and nonprofits have been urging corporations like Apple to adopt policies that would make it easier for people to repair gadgets like the iPhone, but they’re unable to gain traction.

Part of the problem is not on the supply side but the demand side. How many people really want to keep their smartphones longer than a few years? You can blame Apple and other companies (LOL j/k no one ever blames other companies) for bringing out new devices with tweaked features every year, but it’s customers who run out and buy them.

Ironically, there’s enough piling on in this piece to fill a landfill.

And it loves to celebrate its own greenness (it notes on its website that the iPhone 7’s box is made in part out of waste sugarcane).

They made their iPhone packaging almost entirely biodegradable. That’s a good thing. In response, pundits claimed they only did it for the money.

About, Liam, Apple’s iPhone-shredding robot, Beres complains:

It is designed to disassemble only iPhone 6 devices, and only those that are returned directly to Apple.

How… is Apple supposed to disassemble phones it doesn’t have? Returning iPhones to Apple through the iPhone Upgrade Program is bad, not returning them to Apple is also bad.

The problem with focusing on Apple’s environmental record alone is it leaves the impression the writer thinks everything would be just fine if Apple would only go out of business and stop selling iPhones. In fact, the opposite is true. Because people aren’t going to stop buying smartphones, they’re just going to buy ones from the companies whose environmental records no one ever bothered to look into because Apple, Apple, Apple.

Apple turns into the punching bag whenever this comes up—as it should. As the world’s most profitable company, it commands a disproportionate influence.

Yes, Apple’s profitability does mean it has more to answer for. But it’s already done more than any of its competitors. And, despite Beres’s concerns about consumers turning their iPhones over every 12-24 months, iPhones retain their value better.

Gazelle is currently offering $35 for an iPhone 5 in good condition. They’re offering less than half that for a Galaxy Note II, which came out the same year. Possibly because the iPhone 5 will run the current release of iOS while the Galaxy Note II is stuck on Android Kit-Kat, which came out in 2013.

Isn’t volume at least as important as profit in this case? We are regularly told how Apple has a tiny market share and that Samsung sells more phones than it does, even in the U.S. Has anyone ever written a post chastising Samsung for devices that end up in a landfill? The Macalope couldn’t find one.

Chastise Apple, absolutely. Get them to do their very best. But every other manufacturer is being given a pass and Samsung puts more phones into the landfill faster than any of them.

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