Apple flip-flops on EPEAT, says it will work hard to meet new IEEE green standards
Earlier this week, consumer electronics superstar Apple announced none of its products would be included in the EPEAT federal registry of green computer products.
Friday, Apple reversed its decision and instead said it would work to meet the soon-to-be-changed IEEE 1680.1 standard that is the basis for EPEAT's ratings.
Here is Apple's announcement in full, from Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield:
We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.
It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever. Apple makes the most environmentally responsible products in our industry. In fact, our engineering teams have worked incredibly hard over the years to make our products even more environmentally friendly, and much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT.
For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we’ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting.
Perhaps most importantly, we make the most energy-efficient computers in the world and our entire product line exceeds the stringent ENERGY STAR 5.2 government standard. No one else in our industry can make that claim.
We think the IEEE 1680.1 standard could be a much stronger force for protecting the environment if it were upgraded to include advancements like these. This standard, on which the EPEAT rating system is based, is an important measuring stick for our industry and its products.
Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve. Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use.
Section 220.127.116.11 of the revised IEEE standard demands PCs have an "easy disassembly of external enclosure," which means the case must be easily removable by a single person alone with "commonly-available tools." Apple uses proprietary screws to hold together its most recent Macbooks and iPhones, making disassembly completely off-limits to someone without a special tool ordered directly from Apple.
Furthermore, the batteries of the new Macbooks are glued into the chassis, and that violates section 18.104.22.168 of the revised standard, which says circuit boards, batteries, and other components containing hazardous materials must be easily removable for the purposes of repair and recycling.
These are just two of the design issues that will change as Apple strives to meet the new green standards, and we will publish more information on structural and design changes as the IEEE draft moves toward standardization.