by Alex Palmer | April 23, 2014
Getting into the Earth Day spirit, Apple announced on April 21 that all Apple stores would now recycle the company’s products at no charge to customers — and in some cases sweeten the deal with a gift card. Specifically, iPads and iPhones in good enough condition for the company to resell will earn the recycler several hundred dollars in Apple credit, which they can use online or at the retail outlets.

The consumer incentive is not new for the company, which has offered some sort of recycling program in many of its stores, as well as online for years. But the Earth Day announcement expanded this program to every Apple Store. 

While being able to recycle relatively new Apple products offers customers the attractive incentive of a gift card, the company emphasized that its larger concern is to keep older electronics, whether PCs, laptops, or smartphones, out of landfills. These items can release toxins over time if not properly discarded, yet just 8 percent of mobile devices were recycled and 38 percent of monitors through 2009, according to the EPA.

“What the company wants to do is use all our innovation and all of our expertise to make the planet more secure and make the environment better,” Lisa Jackson, Apple vice president of environmental initiatives, told the Associated Press.

The expanded recycling and gift card program was announced as part of a broader green campaign, including a video outlining Apple’s efforts to use sustainable materials and reduce packaging sizes, as well as a revamped environmental microsite

Of course, while these goals will motivate many consumers to properly recycle their old electronics, Apple’s gift card push is aimed to add an extra incentive for those less environmentally minded. And in some cases the incentives are significant. For example, an 16GB iPhone 4 could garner a $65 gift card, while a 4th Generation 128GB iPad could fetch $300, according to Apple’s Reuse and Recycle website