What really happens to your Apple AirPods when they die

“What happens to AirPods when they get old and die?” Will Oremus writes for Medium. “Does the same seamless design that helped to make them iconic also make them an environmental abomination?”

“It’s a question a growing number of critics are asking as the Bluetooth buds nestle their way into ever more ears,” Oremus writes. “Based on my conversations with e-waste recyclers, repairability experts, and Apple itself, however, the answer is neither as straightforward as you might hope nor quite as grim as you might fear.”

Apple AirPods
Apple AirPods

“When I contacted Apple for this story, I didn’t expect much of a response. The company is famous for being selective about its press relations. But I found the company more eager than usual to rebut the claim that AirPods are a planetary nightmare — a claim that appears to have caught Cupertino somewhat by surprise,” Oremus writes. “Most of all, Apple wanted to make clear that you can recycle AirPods — or at least important components of them — and you can go through Apple to do it. ”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: The program is called “Apple Trade In.” It allows you to trade in your eligible device for credit toward your next purchase, or get an Apple Store Gift Card you can use any time. If your device isn’t eligible for credit, Apple will recycle it for free.

The “Apple Trade In” site is here.


  1. Recycling is nice. At the point the AirPods have no trade-in value however, there is no incentive to turn them in vs. just dumping it in the trash other than the owner’s conscience.

  2. The state of the environment is so dire and getting increasingly worse that recycling is becoming environmentally passe, replaced with the more environmentally sustainabe “reuse.”

  3. The are an “Environmental ebomination?” Is that a serious description. It’s some plastic and some metals that are the size of my palm. That affects the climate? I don’t think so. When mine get old, and I am ready for a new pair…(wait for it)…I think i just THROW THEM AWAY. I haven’t recycled before, and don’t see why I should start with my AirPods.

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