– Time decelerates to a super slow motion pace as you witness your phone fly through the air, then plummet to the ground
– You grimace in agony as you hear the screen smack against the concrete and shatter
– You cover your face with your hands praying that maybe, just maybe, you only imagined this horrific scenario
– Multiple loud curse words escape your lips, you garner unwanted attention and dirty looks from the people around you while simultaneously scaring several small children
– Finally, you may (and we aren’t judging here) shed a few tears over your broken friend and trusted companion, your iPhone
You may have noticed our slight flair for drama and knack for exaggeration, but you get the picture. Breaking a phone, baptizing it with your cocktail, or sending it on a deep sea fishing trip to the bottom of a body of water sucks, period.
To soften the blow of such traumatic experiences, Apple has rolled out a new program for returning old and broken phones: Apple Renew combines the efforts of Apple Care as well their take-back and trade-in program into one initiative that gives old devices a second chance and protects the environment.
On top of potential store credit for trade-in phones, Apple customers will receive a gift of thanks in the form of smartphone wallpapers by graphic artist Anthony Burrill. To illustrate that technology waste is a growing concern in the industry, Apple engineers manufactured Liam, a large-scale robot who disassembles old phones.
While “traditional” tech recycling methods involve strong magnets and shredders, Liam meticulously takes SIM card trays, screws, batteries, and cameras, off of old phones so they can be reused. Don’t feel too bad for Liam for having to do all the tedious work though: he has 29 arms, so you can imagine just how efficient he is. Oh, and he’s a robot.
Liam separates the iPhone’s various materials so they can be resold and repurposed as opposed to filling up dump yards. According to DoSomething.org, technology waste represents two percent of the trash in landfills but accounts for 70 percent of toxic waste. In total, somewhere between 20 and 50 million metric tons of electronic waste are disposed of per year.
So, if your phone landed in a toilet or a latte, think twice about just chucking it in the trash can. We can all do our part to save the planet through small efforts. And you could get some really cool wallpaper out of it!
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