While many of us are horrified at the idea of using anything but an Apple product, the computing hulk has rankled environmentally conscious users with its veto of a common green certification. Last week, Apple pulled all 39 of its laptops, monitors, and desktops out of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certification program.
Some speculate that one of the reasons Apple has opted out of the EPEAT certification is because its products are not easily disassembled — a necessity for repairing and recycling. These days, Apple is using industrial-strength glue instead of screws. A major complaint of consumers and environmentalists is that the glue-secured batteries and displays mean they have to be trashed — not repaired — when broken. Forcing consumers to dispose instead of replace is a significant blow to Apple’s green reputation.
Apple has its own recycling program, which disposes of batteries and displays of any brand for free, via Sims Recycling Solutions. In the environment section of Apple’s site, the company contends that it is committed to creating products that are environmentally responsible: “That’s why we design them to use less material, ship with smaller packaging, be free of toxic substances, and be as energy efficient and recyclable as possible.”
Since Apple is refusing to allow EPEAT to evaluate its products, the U.S. government cannot purchase Apple gear, due to a requirement that 95 percent of electronics purchased have the certification. By leaving the EPEAT program, Apple is losing out on consumers with deep pockets like the federal government and alienating green users. Sounds like a lose-lose situation.
Chelsea is a former newspaper reporter who has spent the past few years teaching English in Poland, Finland and Japan. When she wasn't teaching or writing, Chelsea was traveling Europe and Asia, sampling spicy street food along the way.