Will Oremus @WillOremus oh-REE-mus. Senior writer for OneZero at @medium: onezero.medium.com/ Previously: @slate. I write about how tech shapes us. DM for Signal. May. 28, 2019 1 min read

Are your AirPods really an environmental nightmare? I spent a week digging and the answer is... well, it’s complicated:  https://onezero.medium.com/what-really-happens-to-airpods-when-they-die-9ba2fe97b346 

I talked to a recycler who contracts with Apple to deal with the AirPods people send back. He said his workers disassemble each one with hand tools to get at the battery, which wasn't designed to be removable:  https://onezero.medium.com/what-really-happens-to-airpods-when-they-die-9ba2fe97b346 

You might wonder, if AirPods have to be taken apart by hand to get at tiny amounts of cobalt and metal, how recyclers can afford to take them. The answer for now seems to be: because Apple pays them to do it.

From Apple's standpoint, making AirPods more sustainable is a challenge that they're committed to solving, by inventing new recycling tech.

From critics' standpoint, Apple should have just designed them with removable batteries in the first place.  https://onezero.medium.com/what-really-happens-to-airpods-when-they-die-9ba2fe97b346 

You can follow @WillOremus.


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