updated 11:55 am EST, Fri January 16, 2009
Apple Aus. smashing gear
The Australian division of Apple has been destroying broken Macs which could nevertheless be repaired or recycled for parts, claims an individual involved in the process. An anonymous worker at a Sydney warehouse alleges that he was asked to help destroy some $200,000 worth of Apple gear, including iMacs, Xserves, MacBooks and Mac Pros, along with Mighty Mice and a copy of Final Cut Studio. The worker's crew is said to have used hammers and screwdrivers for the task, and gone to the extent of tearing up manuals. Everything, eventually, was crushed using a forklift, in response to complaints about it being visible over a dumpster's edge.
Controversially, at least some of the Macs were partially functional, able to boot up properly; printed e-mails included with the hardware revealed exchanges between Apple and service technicians, typically indicating that a client wanted a replacement instead of repair. A separate person -- working at the site for nine months -- is said to have claimed that Apple is choosing to replace hardware rather than pay for the cost of repair in China.
The request to smash the computers is believed to have come from a permanent on-site Apple representative. Apple Australia's marketing director, Rob Small, insists however that Apple does not destroy functioning computers. "We only destroy stock that's either beyond economic repair or is been deemed not fit for sale to a customer again," he comments.
Small further denies that anything is disposed of haphazardly. "Anything we recycle is done responsibly through certified recyclers. Nothing goes to landfill and we do not donate second hand products to charity or move them off-shore," he says.
Apple has previously championed its recycling efforts, noting that it increased volume by 57 percent in 2007. If accurate however, the Australian report may suggest that Apple contractors are in some cases only recycling raw materials, or ignoring official policy entirely. It is also common in the PC world for computers to be refurbished for charities.