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Greening Electronics

Standard Page - 2010-01-22
Greenpeace has been lobbying and engaging companies around the world to stop using hazardous chemicals and endangering public communities and the environment. This strategy has especially helped us to campaign against electronics companies, whose products are both highly polluting and becoming increasingly disposable.

Greenpeace has been lobbying and engaging companies around the world to stop using hazardous chemicals and endangering public communities and the environment.

This strategy has especially helped us to campaign against electronics companies, whose products are both highly polluting and becoming increasingly disposable.

With our Guide to Greener Electronics, we have been engaging electronics companies to phase out the most hazardous chemicals from their products and take responsibility for taking back and safely recycling their old products.

The first edition was produced in 2006, and ranked 14 leading manufacturers of computers and mobile phones. We used the results of the ranking to pressure Apple, which came in near the bottom, to clean up its products.

Greenpeace activists gather at an Apple store in Manhattan shining "green" light on the emerging problem of electronic waste and persuade Apple to "green" their products.

By 2007, the Green My Apple campaign persuaded Steve Jobs to commit to phasing out PVC (polyvinylchloride plastic) and brominated fire-retardants (BFRs) from its products. Since March 2009, all new Apple products have been free of these toxic chemicals – the first company to do so for all computing products.

Three Greenpeace activists hold laptops bearing the message “HP: Harmful Products” on the screen and wear masks to mimic the Hewlett-Packard (HP) Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd outside the HP China headquarters in Beijing.

Similarly, Greenpeace has been lobbying Hewlett-Packard (HP) since 2003 regarding the hazardous chemicals in its electronics. For example, we found brominated fire retardants in HP’s laptops in 2006, including one variety that the company had already claimed to ban years ago. Greenpeace continued to campaign against HP for failing to meet commitments, until 2009, when it finally released a laptop free of BFRs and PVC. As of 2011, HP now has several computers and laptops free of hazardous chemicals.

Global Responsibility

The Guide to Greener Electronics also evaluates companies for their take-back program for obsolete products. Many companies only offer take-back for a limited range of their products, and only in certain countries. Greenpeace calls upon them to expand their take-back programmes into Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and parts of Asia.

Learn more

You can learn more about how our Guide to Greener Electronics has changed the industry in Milestones on the Road to Greener Electronics, published at the end of 2010.

You can also view our latest Guide to Greener Electronics, or view the timeline of our campaign to green electronics and reduce e-waste.

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