Last week we called out Apple on the lack of any environmental info on the new iPhone 3G. Pre-launch publicity and specs for the new MacBook Air and iMac included info on how Apple was making progress on eliminating the worst toxic chemicals by the end of 2008. There was none of this for the iPhone, but last night we noticed a late addition to the iPhone tech specs:
iPhone 3G embodies Apple's continuing environmental progress. It is designed with the following features to reduce environmental impact:
- PVC-free handset - PVC-free headphones - PVC-free USB cable - Bromine-free printed circuit boards - Mercury-free LCD display - Majority of packaging made from post-consumer recycled fiberboard and biobased materials - Power adapter outperforms strictest global energy efficiency standards
So how does this compare to what we found when we tested the first iPhone, how does it measure up against other phones from competitors and what does Apple have to do to meet it's commitment to stop using toxic PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants?
Our testing on the first iPhone showed high levels of PVC in the headphones so a PVC free handset, headphones and USB cable is definitely progress. But both Sony Ericsson and Nokia have already completely phased out PVC, including phone chargers from their new phones.
Removing some use of brominated flame retardants is definitely an improvement on the first iPhone. Sony Ericsson and Nokia are making products virtually free of BFRs, while it is unclear how much bromine is still present in the new 3G phone.
We already recognised that the original iPhone charger meets high energy efficiency standards and efforts to reduce the impact of packaging is a positive step.
It's good to see Apple reducing the use of toxic chemicals in the latest generation of the iPhone and providing more public information to customers and Apple should take these PVC accessoires (headphones, USB cables) and make them standard in all their products. However to equal or exceed standards set by Sony Ericsson and Nokia and be a leading company on toxic chemicals elimination, Apple still needs to eliminate other harmful substances (antimony, beryllium, phthalates) and make their products, including the next generation iPhone, completely PVC and BFR free.
The end of 2008 and 2009 is the date many electronics companies have set to eliminate toxic chemicals, will Apple be the first to make a truly green product?