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Recycle your iPod, Grab a Piece of the Settlement

Apple Computer is encouraging iPod users to recycle and, in the process, upgrade--to a newer device, of course. The company has announced a new program that allows customers to bring in their old iPods to Apple retail stores for free environmentally friendly disposal. As part of the program, customers will be eligible for a 10 percent discount on a new iPod purchase on the day they drop off their old device. The new program is in response to environmentalists complaining that the company wasn't doing enough to encourage recycling. Apple's iPods contain lead and other toxins and aren't particularly landfill-friendly. Apple isn't the first company to address the increasing need for old-electronics recycling. Recycling is becoming a major concern. Research firm Gartner estimates that 133,000 PCs are retired or replaced each year. The firm estimates that 400 million devices will be thrown out by 2010. In related news, Apple announced a settlement to several class-action lawsuits regarding iPod battery life. The company is offering extended-service warranties and $50 store credits to customers who complained. Newer-generation iPods that come with dock connectors and were purchased before May 31, 2004, will have their warranties extended from 1 to 2 years. If the batteries die in those devices, the company will replace either the battery or iPod for free, or provide a $50 credit toward an Apple online store or retail store purchase. For customers with older iPods who have experienced battery failure, the company will offer a $50 store credit or $25 in cash. Customers who already have paid for battery replacement within 2 years of ownership are eligible for a $50 refund of the $99 repair charge they already paid.

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