Tell Apple you want more recyclable products and environmental leadership

July 11, 2012

A young girl displays a piece of electronic waste. China is quickly becoming the world's trash bin. As much as 4,000 tonnes of toxic e-waste is discarded every hour. Many electronic products are routinely, and often illegally, shipped from Europe, Japan and the US to China. Dumping them there is cheaper than taking proper care of them at home. Because mobile phones, computers and other electronic products are made using toxic ingredients, workers at yards such as this one in Guiyu, China, risk exposure when they break the products apart by hand, under appalling conditions.

© Greenpeace

Apple has decided to leave the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) standards group, pulling all of its products from this electronics ratings systems. EPEAT measures the environmental aspects of electronics products, much like we do with our Guide to Greener Electronics and serves as a guide that is used by many large institutional buyers of electronics, including the city of San Francisco, the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Ford Motor Company. It appears Apple has pulled its products because its new line of MacBook Pros does not meet the EPEAT requirements for easy disassembly and recyclability. Making these products more difficult to recycle and nearly impossible to upgrade will result in more e-waste. Apple is pitting design against the environment, and choosing design as the priority. That's a false choice, and Apple should know better: historically Apple has been a leader in designing products with the environment in mind. Customers who have expressed their concerns to Apple in recent months about the energy it's using to power its iCloud will be disconcerted to hear that Apple is now backsliding on making its products recyclable. Apple can resume its position of leadership on the environment, but right now it seems to be betting that people don't care. Tell Apple CEO Tim Cook that that bet is wrong, and you want Apple to be an environmental leader by making products that can be upgraded, reused and recycled.

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