Early buyers of the ear-buds say that they fall out, which can be expensive if you lose one down the back of the sofa. But it turns out that in addition to being expensive, they will be a major problem for recyclers.
Jobs’ Mob has been touting its environmentally friendly image of late having come under fire in the past for constructing its devices so tightly that their components can be difficult to cost-effectively disassemble for recycling.
Apple’s AirPods are a back to the days of creating environmental time bombs. Apple glued-in tiny lithium batteries that make recycling difficult.
Kyle Wiens, chief executive of iFixit said that Apple was claiming that these are the future of headphones which means that the planet will see a billion of these things over the next decade.
Apple claims the $159 AirPods can be returned to the company for recycling but it did not say how it would go about recycling it itself.
The AirPods contain three lithium-ion batteries, one in each pod and one in an accompanying charging case.
Recyclers shred wired headphones and send them to a smelter that will melt them down for the copper inside. But the lithium-ion batteries in AirPods cannot be shredded because they could catch fire while being destroyed.
The AirPods warn that the they cannot be thrown away in the trash and should be disposed of as electronics waste.
Recyclers say it would be too expensive to recycle because it could not be done by hand because it would be too expensive. What is likely then is that the batteries would be shipped to some Chinese landsite where they would be dumped and leak toxic waste which would eventually kill polar bears.