Under the guise of environmental stewardship, eBay has launched a campaign to buy back your unwanted Apple products at discount prices. For the next two weeks, the online auction house will pay up to $150 for damaged iPads, $100 for iPhones and $50 for iPods in celebration of Earth Month. That's more than eBay is normally willing to part with through its Instant Sale program, which launched late last year to give users a convenient way to recycle old cellphones and other mobile gadgets, but less than it will probably make once it strips your dusty old toys for parts.
"This Earth Day, we are looking to double down on that value by offering our customers even more cash incentive for using Instant Sale and ensuring their devices get responsibly recycled," eBay's Gregory Boutee said in a statement given to USA Today's Green House. "Our goal is to help keep harmful e-waste out of landfills, not to mention preventing the need for new gadgets to be produced and shipped overseas, which is a carbon-intensive process with a significant environmental impact."
It's easy to be cynical about the program, but it's one in which all parties win. If you're willing to sell off your old cellphone to eBay in the first place, you're probably not using it; it's just gathering dust. Tossing it out to the curb would be irresponsible as there are a number of dangerous products tucked away inside. Sending the phone to eBay means the company will make a profit by recycling the valuable metals -- how can you argue with recycling? -- but you'll also make more than you would have by choosing the alternative. Even if eBay determines that your banged up iPhone is worthless, the company will send you a free shipping label so that your product is disposed of properly and a $5 gift card.
"E-waste is a hge and growing problem, since many electronics contain toxic chemicals that can leach from landfills into soil and groundwater," according to USA Today. "Yet it also has business potential because of the metals in electronic devices." EBay isn't the only company looking to profit from e-waste recycling. Other retails, including Target and Lowe's, provide in-store recycling options for customers, and a number of Internet businesses have sprung up in this arena, notably Green Cells and Tech For Less.
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