Computer and gadget company Apple is finally bringing its successful recycling programme across the Atlantic to the UK, after running the part-exchange scheme in the US for several years. The project allows customers who are buying a new Apple product to get some money off the total cost when they bring in an old gadget.

Consumers can either drop their old computer off at their local Apple store or post it to a central repository where the items are assessed; if the gadget can be reused, the customer will receive a cheque for its value before Apple themselves restore it and sell it on. If the item has no commercial value, the customer doesn’t get any money back from the company, but Apple will ensure it is recycled in an environmentally-friendly way.

This is merely the latest in a series of green innovations launched by Apple; the company has already managed to reduce the amount of materials it uses in its products by making them smaller as well as eliminating toxic substances. Apple deliberately uses the same criteria as competitor Dell when judging their environmental statistics, so that the performances of the two companies can be directly compared and contrasted.

Dell’s figures say that the average lifespan of one of their computers is seven years. The organisation uses this statistic to calculate its carbon footprint; as long as the number of computers and other related gadgets they recycle in one year is more than were sold seven years go, Dell has a positive balance and can advertise their green credentials.

Apple, on the other hand, has a recycling figure of 70%; while this may sound poor in comparison to Dell, one of the main features of Apple’s products is their longer battery life. Computers and gadgets produced by the company should have a much longer average lifespan than the seven years estimated by Dell.

Consumers are becoming more interested in recycling electronics products, and Apple is doing its bit to help inform customers about the best way to safely dispose of or find other uses for their unwanted technology. One of the main concerns has always been that information on the computer can be used by criminals to hack into bank accounts and other secure websites once the machine has been passed on for recycling.

To counter this problem, make sure you perform a full data wipe on the computer before sending it to any recycling centre or taking it into the Apple store to take advantage of their own part-exchange programme. This data wipe should also include the backup systems, which many people assume has no current information stored on it.

PowerON, the company which handles Apple’s recycling, carries out its own data wipe, but most people prefer to do one of their own as well for peace of mind. Apple are keen to emphasise in the small print of their new recycling scheme that they cannot be held responsible for any data which is left on gadgets and computers by consumers sending the item in for part-exchange.

However, the company hopes that their new scheme will be as popular in the UK as it has been in the US. Many customers are loyal to the brand, and will always be happy to cash in on an old and unwanted gadget to have a few pounds to spend in the Apple store.

By Alan