Apple is now in the free electronics recycling game and will now recycle your old laptop or desktop PC and its monitor in the San Francisco area for free. The bonus is that if it’s worth anything, you’ll even get an Apple Gift Card in return. In addition, you can recycle your old iPhone or iPad for an Apple Gift Gard, too. This recycling service is provided by Apple and PowerON, a California-based reseller of used and refurbished computers,and is completely free of charge. Apple is fairly unique in offering free, anywhere-in-the-US recycling for any computer. While there are many similar services that operate at a state level, store-based programs offered by Best Buy and others, and trade-in schemes from the likes of Dell, a completely free service is admirable. To take advantage of this great free recycling service, just visit the Apple Reuse and Recycling Program website, select what kind of device you want to recycle (any desktop, notebook, iPad, or iPhone), and then fill in a few details about the device. For Windows desktops the only factors seem to be the case size and the processor speed; for laptops, the screen size and processor speed. For Apple products you need to select the exact model. On the next page you provide a few details about the condition of the computer: Does it boot up? Is it scratched? Can you can provide the original driver/OS disc? And so on. You’ll then be given an estimated fair market value — or if the device is too old or in bad condition, you’ll simply be told that it’s worth nothing (but you can still recycle it for free).
The fair market value for Windows PC computers do seem to be a bit on the low side — $48 for a two-year-old computer (see right) is a little miserly — but you do get free shipping and packaging, which doesn’t come cheap. Apple products are given higher values — $165 for a first-gen, 16GB Wi-Fi iPad, for example — but some devices are still on the penny-pinching end of the scale: last year’s top-of-the-range 17-inch MacBook Pro, for example. Apple also offers free recycling for any iPod or mobile phone. Just fill in your address and Apple (powered by WeRecycle) will send you some prepaid packaging — or you can simply print off your own prepaid label, if you have your own packing materials. Alternatively, if you have an Apple Store nearby, you can give them your old iPod for a 10% discount on a new one. Thanks to Free Things to Do in Seattle and Free Things to Do in Los Angeles who spotted this great freebie.