Greenpeace protests HP's broken promise

Feature Story - 2009-06-25
Greenpeace activists dressed in bio-hazard suits protested outside Hewlett-Packard's Beijing office after the electronic giant broke its promise on not using toxic chemicals.

Greenpeace activists protest HP's decision to go back on its promise to phase out toxic chemicals.

The activists wore masks with the face of HP Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd and held HP laptops with "HP: harmful products" written on their screens and demanded HP take back the toxic computers.

After about 20 minutes an HP worker came down and asked us to go up to the HP office.

Toxics campaign manager Jamie Choi refused, saying if they did not come down to collect their toxic laptops we would stay there all day and come back tomorrow and continue the protest.

HP's PR manager Shen Ji refused to come down and meet us, instead another unidentified HP worker eventually came down to collect the laptops.

HP backtracks on toxic promise

In 2007, HP promised to phase out using brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics in their products (except for servers and printers) by the end of 2009.

But earlier this year they said they would keep using these toxic chemicals until 2011.

"It is shameful that HP, as the world's largest PC seller, is still putting hazardous products onto the market depsite promises made years ago," said Jamie.

PVC, BFR: poisons by HP

PVC is one of the most poisonous plastics. It can form dioxins, a known carcinogen, when it is burned.

BFR is very difficult to break down and builds up in human and animal bodies. Products that contain BFR can release the poison into the environment where you can find it in household dust, for example.

If Apple can do it, why not HP?

There's no reason why HP doesn't phase out these chemicals.

Apple's new computers are almost PVC free and don't have any BFRs.

Dell, Lenovo and Acer have more products with less or no PVC and BFRs.

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