United States – Apple’s new wireless headphones could become a real recycling problem in the next couple of years, according to electronics dismantling expert Kyle Wiens of iFixit.
The devices, retailing for US$ 159 and nicknamed AirPods, have miniscule lithium-ion batteries secured with ‘a waterfall of glue’ that make recycling ‘very difficult’, according to Wiens. In his teardown report, he jokingly writes: ‘Nurse, hand me the scalpel.’ The AirPods cannot simply be thrown into a shredder – unlike their wired counterparts – because they could catch fire during the process, it is argued.
Considering how the brand has become something of an electronics trendsetter, he foresees a billion of these gadgets could be coming forward for recycling in around 10 years from now. An estimated 1.4 billion pairs of iPhone and iPod headphones have been sold thus far.
Apple has said it will set up a take-back scheme to recover used AirPods although the specifics of the recycling process remain unknown.