Apple is suing electronics recycling firm GEEP Canada for allegedly stealing and reselling nearly 100,000 iPhones, iPads and Apple Watches it was supposed to destroy.
The tech giant claims that the resales damaged demand for new Apple products, created safety issues for consumers and hurt its brand by keeping products intended to be destroyed on the market. Barrie, Ont.-based GEEP has denied all wrongdoing and filed a third-party suit claiming that three of its employees engaged in the theft without its knowledge.
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Apple is looking for $31 million in damages from the firm, plus the full amount of any proceeds it made from reselling the devices.
Apple hired GEEP in November 2014 to safely destroy its old products and ensure they didn’t end up in landfills. Recycling products is part of Apple’s mission to be more environmentally friendly. It also allows the firm to save money by reusing certain products, like cobalt, which are extracted from old phone batteries to use in new ones. Apple encourages customers to drop off their old devices, which it then sends to firms like GEEP for recycling. Between January 2015 and December 2017, Apple shipped 531,966 iPhones, 25,673 iPads and 19,277 Apple Watches to GEEP, according to the suit.