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Apple Issues Statement on EPEAT Registry Withdrawal

Late last week, we noted that Apple had pulled all of its qualifying Mac products from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry for environmental ratings.

The move, which is said to have been related to Apple's design decisions that will disqualify its new and upcoming products from the registry, has the potential to impact Apple's presence in governmental and institutional purchasing. The city of San Francisco is among the first entities to act on Apple's withdrawal, announcing that it will bar most municipal Mac purchases.

Apple has now issued a statement to The Loop addressing its environmental outlook and its commitment to continue meeting other modern standards like Energy Star.
“Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2,” Apple representative Kristin Huguet, told The Loop. “We also lead the industry by reporting each product’s greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials.”
The Loop's Jim Dalrymple notes that even EPEAT acknowledges that many of its standards are outdated, with Apple apparently believing that those criteria have become too restrictive and do not address the full gamut of the company's environmental commitments.

Top Rated Comments

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36 months ago
In these posts I've seen the following:
1) People attacking San Francisco because Apple products no longer fit their policy (if they bend the policy, what is the point of the policy?) or saying their tax dollars shouldn't be wasted on Macs (despite 1-2% of all computer being Macs) or the fact that it's a hippie town (what does that have to do with anything?)
2) People attacking Apple for no longer caring about the environment when there is evidence in the past for the exact opposite.
3) People attacking EPEAT for having outdated standards (though I don't think most people even know what those standards are), though Apple proudly touted their logo for the last 5 years. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

Honestly, I wish people would act rationally about discussing this topic instead of ad hominem attacks against people. I'd rather have the following:
1) Cities and governments commit to green initiatives that they've already put into place.
2) Apple to describe what it is doing to environmentally dispose of products like the iPad and Retina MacBook Pro where glue is used.
3) EPEAT to update its standards where necessary and work with Apple to update them (Apple did help with the guidelines when EPEAT was founded).

The amount of vitriol around this issue is unproductive at best and idiotic at worst. People need to work on issues and stop mindlessly attacking each other (I don't expect corporations and our government to act any better than the people work there).
Rating: 26 Votes
36 months ago

It still doesn't excuse making it harder for an average consumer to tear apart the device to take it in for recycling.

Honestly, how many consumers tear apart their computers on their own? Most people that don’t just trash their computers or sell them as is on ebay are taking them as is to the local trash company and pay to dispose them in with other computers. They don’t tear them down themselves.

Heck our company pays somebody to dispose computers without discrimination and we are EPEAT Gold.
Rating: 22 Votes
36 months ago

Hmmm, thats a pretty good point there.

It still doesn't excuse making it harder for an average consumer to tear apart the device to take it in for recycling.

Although I imagine that was more useful at a time when there were fewer places you could take whole old devices to recycle.

The average consumer would GO TO THE NEAREST APPLE STORE AND TAKE THEIR DEVICE FOR RECYCLING AND GET A GIFT CARD FOR DOING SO..if there are no Apple Store nearby, the average consumer will get Apple to ship it for free to recycle their old device and get a gift card for doing so.

P.S. I got a $163 for recycling my old ass almost dead iMac..
Rating: 19 Votes
36 months ago
Or, the smart consumer will sell it on eBay / Craigslist and make more money than if he/she were to give it back to Apple and get a gift card.
Rating: 17 Votes
36 months ago
Damage control... or rather image control or PR... what ever you wanna call it. This is what Apple is doing.

I have admit there are certain things the EPEAT can do to make their standards better. (If they so believe they are outdated).
Rating: 11 Votes
36 months ago

Hmmm, thats a pretty good point there.

It still doesn't excuse making it harder for an average consumer to tear apart the device to take it in for recycling.

Although I imagine that was more useful at a time when there were fewer places you could take whole old devices to recycle.

I don’t think the average consumer is tearing things apart at home to decide which components different recycling companies are able to process.

The value of EPEAT (though it may need to be updated to allow progress in device construction) would be more to the recycling companies themselves.

But, if a lot of people take their old Macs to places other than Apple for recycling, then those places will adapt and learn to take them apart—EPEAT or no EPEAT.

Meanwhile, I hope most people just take the Mac back to Apple.

Not that I have ever known an old Mac to stop working and need recycling! I’m thinking of all my own Macs, my friends, and my family. All those Macs, dating back to the 90s, still run to my knowledge. I even accepted way too many of them as hand me downs, thinking I’d want to play old games or work in Director :rolleyes: Good grief, I just counted: I have 12 miscellaneous Macs, Pods and iOS devices cluttering up the joint! Many have been brutalized for years... none have failed.

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle: recycling is the last resort and the least environmentally friendly of those 3 principles! And Apple is outstanding at all 3, whether they’re able to follow a specific outdated rule set or not.
Rating: 10 Votes
36 months ago

That's the lamest excuse I have ever heard from a company. They are attacking a standard as an excuse for pulling there products from attempting to follow that standard.

They should just face it that they can't meet EPEAT environmental standards. I love Apple products, but come on and stop trying to make excuses.

What is helpful for the environment is to do things that are good for the environment. What is not helpful for the environment is following standards about the environment.

Apple is saying here "we could follow EPEAT standards, but it would make our products worse, and it wouldn't help the environment". It is common sense tbat if there is an "environmental standard" demanding things from you that are not actually beneficial for the environment, then yes, you attack the standard. Or do you want the environment to be damaged because companies blindly follow standards that don't help the environment?

You seem to be assuming that all of EPEAT's standards are actually good for the environment. A lot of environmental standards and regulations, as well as public assumptions about what is good for the environment, have turned out not to be.

As an example, EPEAT requires that a product contains 25% recycled plastic. So if one product has 1000 grams of plastic of which 250 gram come from recycled sources, and another has 200 grams only with none coming recycled, think about which is more environmentally friendly, and guess which one follows EPEAT standard.

When I first started buying Apple products in the mid-2000's, I remember that Apple was having a hard time getting certified as "green" by anyone. Their products at the time had higher than average levels of toxic materials. Looking back on those days as "the good old days" is like thinking fondly of our childhood when we'd collect the mercury from broken thermometers so we could roll the pretty, harmless, liquid metal across our palms.

I think you are talking about the infamous Greenpeace report. Greenpeace didn't compare levels of toxic materials. Greenpeace compared companies promises to remove toxic materials. In one case (bromide flame retardants) they marked HP up for promising to get rid of BFRs within two years, and marked Apple down for not making any such promise. They just failed to notice that Apple had removed BFRs two years earlier so obviously wouldn't make any promises to do so in the future. (They also didn't get that Apple preferred actions to words, so they wouldn't announce plans, they would just do it. Get's you negative points when Greenpeace finds it easier to judge companies by their promises).

Everyone is enlightened. If Apple does it, it's good. Even when it's not. Replace Apple here with Samsung, Microsoft, Google, etc and it would be a terrible thing. No explanations would be needed, would they? :rolleyes:

So you make some blind accusations without any shred of evidence, and when you are called to actually show evidence, you follow by more blind accusations without any shred of evidence, and you get voted up. Brilliant.
Rating: 10 Votes
36 months ago

Just like the thinking that governs San Francisco... :rolleyes:

I'll take "San Francisco thinking" over most of the "red state thinking" any day.

Wait - does using "red state" and "thinking" in the same sentence constitute an oxymoron? I think that it does....
Rating: 8 Votes
36 months ago

I'll take "San Francisco thinking" over most of the "red state thinking" any day.

Wait - does using "red state" and "thinking" in the same sentence constitute an oxymoron? I think that it does....

So you'll hand a blank check over to your governor so that he can build a high speed rail between those bustling metropolises of Bakersfield and Fresno?

San Francisco is being shortsighted. They are buying PCs based on the label, rather than any specifics. Apple will still take back their old Macs for recycling, and a few years from now would take back their new Macs. But because it doesn't have a sticker on it saying they meet some arbitrary standard, they won't buy one. No wonder the state is broke, despite having the 9th largest economy in the world.
Rating: 6 Votes
35 months ago
Way to take their mission out of context with the small part of the actual mission statement.

For all of you supporting EPEAT and bashing Apple. Read this, taken from EPEAT's site. I love their mission - "Operate the most successful global environmental rating system for electronic products..." Their goal is to operate a rating system - not to reduce or eliminate electronic waste or to better recycle said parts. It's complete crap - again it probably started with noble intent, but that is not what it is today.

EPEAT® is the definitive global registry for greener electronics. It’s an easy-to-use resource for purchasers, manufacturers, resellers and others wanting to find and promote environmentally preferable products.

Our vision: A world where the negative environmental and social impacts of electronics are continually reduced and electronic products are designed to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainability

Our mission: Operate the most successful global environmental rating system for electronic products, helping connect purchasers to environmentally preferable choices, and thereby benefiting producers who demonstrate environmental responsibility and innovation

Our values: Leadership, transparency, continuous improvement, collaboration and market-orientation


I guess there are 2 ways of looking at it. Their points are valid. EPEAT is outdated and maybe they are pushing for something new to happen by making such a bold move. On the other hand, withdrawing from EPEAT does allow them to be less green and maybe allow them to profit further with an increased environmental impact

I don't think the issue is whether they are more or less green. People seem to be up in arms that EPEAT has a standard to meet their approval. Apple doesn't meet it. San Francisco (the city) only purchases computers and laptops with the EPEAT seal of approval.

No one is saying Apple is more or less green. They are saying that based on EPEATS's criteria - they don't qualify.

The real problem is that the general public doesn't know what is and what isn't the criteria to get an EPEAT approval - they just see headlines that (now) state that SF won't purchase Apple's computers because they don't pass EPEAT's rating.

That was the thrust of the PR spin by Apple. In short - they were saying they are every bit as environmentally conscious - if not more so - than before. Regardless of any "rating." And at the same time - they took a little swipe at EPEAT in the process. Which, personally, they didn't need to do. But that's Apple.
Rating: 6 Votes

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