Is Apple Contributing to Electronic Waste?

September 7, 2012

Apple and Electronic WastePhoto by: Dan Taylor |

Apple’s products are everywhere; they let us listen to music, call our friends, and browse the Internet with ease. On top of being user-friendly, all of Apple’s mobile devices, since the 2003 release of the third-generation iPod, have used a 30-pin port. This standardization made it easy to mass-produce docks, alarm clocks, and other devices to be compatible with iPods and iPhones alike.
TechCrunch reports that soon, however, Apple plans to make use of either a 9- or 19-pin port on a new version of the iPhone. While this switch would save precious space inside the phone, it would also render countless accessories that are currently in use and on the market obsolete. It would force consumers to choose between refraining from upgrading to the newest iPhone or saying goodbye to their previously compatible products.

Old vs. New Ports

With a push to buy new products on the horizon, we are left to consider what will happen to all of the devices out there that have a 30-pin port. The first iPod with a 30-pin port was introduced in 2003, and TechCrunch estimates that since then Apple has sold over 610 million such devices, not including an addition 45 million accessory docks.
Clearly, the introduction of a new connector will inevitably shake things up. But will there be a backwards compatibility option to keep the 30-pin port relevant? Or will those devices be left to go the way of the dinosaurs in this ever-changing tech world?

Looking Ahead

In any case, Apple’s plan to move away from 30-pin ports has the potential to cause a significant surge in the production of electronic waste. Old iPods would no longer be desirable, and old docks would no longer be useful. It will be interesting to see how the technology industry and consumers handle repercussions of the introduction of Apple’s new, smaller port. The new iPhone will undoubtedly sell, and the rest of the industry will have to react.
It does not have to develop into a bad situation, though. Instead of considering their old products to be useless and sending them off to a landfill, individuals would also have the option of trading their old iPhones and accessories in to a refiner for cash. With the introduction of their new port, Apple has an opportunity to raise awareness for the environmental damage that throwing away electronics causes and promote the electronic scrap recycling industry. CJ Environmental refines and recycles electronic scrap in accordance with EPA standards. For more information on how not to let your old electronics go to waste, visit

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