How One Small Startup Is Tackling Apple’s Big AirPods Problem

Even kindergartners know that when you make a mess, you have to clean it up. Unfortunately, in the case of tech companies and the countless millions of wireless earbuds they produce, the mess is a continuing disaster. Apple’s AirPods, which may only last a few years due to their tiny batteries, are a notorious example. The truth of the matter is, AirPods were designed to be disposable. If you want to talk about recycling, AirPods are the poster child for life in a landfill. Apple has sold hundreds of millions, yet each earbud degrades at such a fast rate that you’re lucky if they last two years. Apple does offer to recycle your AirPods if you return them, but you can’t trade them in for a discount on a new pair. That’s where The Swap Club comes in. The company puts new batteries in otherwise dead AirPods. Not only can they bring your useless AirPods back to life, but they’re challenging Apple and other big tech manufacturers to offer more sustainable product designs. You can, of course, purchase AppleCare Insurance for $29, but that lasts only two years. After that, Apple charges $69 for a single replacement AirPod, or $49 per AirPod for battery service. You can, however, go to The Swap Club, and in exchange for $60 (plus $5 shipping) and your pair of dead first- or second-generation AirPods, the company will send you a pair of refurbished Apple earbuds with brand-new batteries. When you consider a new pair of Apple AirPods will cost you $180 each time you have to replace them, it seems like $65 is a bargain.