HP rises to the toxic challenge

Feature story - 9 March, 2006
Electronics giant Hewlett Packard has risen to the challenge we set them and committed to a phase out plan for a range of hazardous chemicals in its products. Now we are at the consumer electronics industry's biggest annual event to ask "who's next?"

One of series of actions that lead to HP's change of heart on phasing out the worst toxic chemicals from its products.

Update September 18, 2006: New test results reveal high levels of contamination in HP laptop.

Which company will be following HP's lead and taking the first step intackling the growing problem of toxic electronic waste by committing toremove hazardous chemicals from its products?

HP joins big industry names like Sony, Nokia, Samsung, LG and SonyEricsson who are leading the industry by positive example on toxicchemicals. Companies like Acer, Apple, Dell, Fujitsu-Siemens, IBM,Lenovo, Panasonic, Siemens and Toshiba have so far failed to follow theindustry leaders.

HP's change of policy didn't happen overnight. Back in 2003 we foundthat one of their computers contained particularly high amounts of atoxic chemical. Subsequently we confronted HP with the reality of theirlack of action at their European headquarters, asked awkward questionswhen the HP boss visited China and finally turned up at their worldheadquarters in California with a special message for their staff.Thousands of concerned people wrote to HP about its chemicals policyand technology media covered the "Greenpeace versus HP" showdown infull.

Which company, currently ignoring the issue of toxic electronic waste, wants tobe the next focus of our campaign? We'll be laying down that gauntletto the remaining companies while they are busy showing off their latestofferings at the world's largest electronics fair, CeBIT, in Hanover,Germany.

The electronics industry will be hard at work promoting its everfaster, smaller and smarter gadgets but it cannot continue to ignorethe dangerous explosion in electronic scrap (e-waste) containing toxicchemicals and heavy metals that cannot be disposed of or recycledsafely. These high-tech gadgets often end up dumped in Asia and takenapart by hand in primitive, highly polluting and very definitelylow-tech manner.

Clean it up and take it back!

By removing the toxic chemicals, companies make it cleanerand easier to recycle their products. Companies that takeresponsibility for the whole lifecycle of their products from cradle tograve ensure that their products last longer and cause less pollution. Our vision for the industry is one that produces cleaner, longerlasting, more sustainable products that don't contribute to the growingtide of toxic, short lived products currently being dumped in Asia.

Our toxics campaigner, Martin Hojsík will be asking the electronicscompanies where they stand on these issues at CeBit and he has asuggestion for next years event;
"The motto for this years CeBit is'digital solutions for work and life', we want next years motto to be'digital solutions without pollution'!"

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