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Apple Environmental Chief Lisa Jackson Driving Sustainability Efforts

Former EPA chief Lisa Jackson, hired earlier this year to head up Apple's environmental efforts, told a sustainability conference that she plans to get Apple to use energy more efficiently and with cleaner power in the company's data centers and other buildings.

According to GigaOm, Jackson said "Tim Cook didn't hire Lisa Jackson to be quiet and keep the status quo. We understand our responsibility and we do care."
Jackson talked about the challenges of pushing and developing sustainability projects within Apple. One of them is the challenge of collecting solid data and being able to measure projects and their success rates. This includes Apple’s method to calculate the energy use and carbon footprint of its operation and products, the manufacturing of its devices and the supply chain and customers’ use of the products. Jackson pointed to the life cycle analysis that Steve Jobs publicized back in 2009 in an effort to change the company’s image, as an example of Apple’s attention to creating sustainability metrics and data.
GigaOm says Jackson's team currently counts 17 people and she is responsible for recruiting more environmentally conscious employees from within the company to help with Apple's sustainability projects, including getting feedback on how to cut wasteful energy use.

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On a related note, DataCenterKnowledge writes about Apple continuing to grow its new Prineville, Oregon data center, constructing a new power substation to go with new buildings going in. Apple's new data center is close to a new center from Facebook.

Earlier this year, Apple said its data centers were running on 100 percent renewable energy -- solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal power -- while the company's corporate facilities are running on 75 percent renewable, up from 35 percent two years ago.

Top Rated Comments

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12 months ago

Jackson said "Tim Cook didn't hire Lisa Jackson to be quiet and keep the status quo. We understand our responsibility and we do care."


Ghettochris always finds it amusing when people talk about themselves in the third person.
Rating: 8 Votes
12 months ago
I hope Apple doesn't move further away from sustainable and recyclable materials in their products as is the case with the "new" polycarbonate iPhone 5c. I'm very passionate and active in environmental matters, and even more so with regards to the vastly changing technological world and its impact regarding e-waste. I truly want to make the world a better place in this regard, so for those who have read my posts when an environmental thread is front page news, forgive my "broken record". I truly mean only to help inform others in order for us, the "tech savvy", and for consumers, to make an impact by voting with our dollars as our buying power is the one factor that will get the necessary attention for companies to make the right choices in materials used and production waste.

Every year, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic cups, forks, and spoons to circle the equator 300 times (http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html). Plastic produces more waste from recycling and general consumer discard. Recycling produces more pollutants, including chemical stews when breaking down different products.

Recycling is not cost-efficient and annually results in a net loss. It costs $50-60 to landfill a ton versus $150+/- to recycle. Only the recycling of aluminum really makes any money. Reclaiming metals is feasible and fairly easy, whereas plastics and paper are expensive, wasteful and overly difficult. The biggest disadvantage to recycling is that it gives the consuming public a false sense of 'security'; a sense that they're doing something to benefit the environment. recycling can be bad for the environment. In fact, except for materials like metal and some glass, recycling is almost always bad for the environment. One of the best places to start is with a report from Perc.org, called the Eight Great Myths of Recycling (http://perc.org/sites/default/files/ps28.pdf). "One argument made for recycling notes that we live on a finite planet. With a growing population, we must, it seems, run out of resources."

E-waste is a major issue, especially with plastics. There are 2 plastic islands the size of Texas, one in the Pacific Ocean - the "Great Pacific garbage patch" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch)and one in the Indian Ocean (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ocean_garbage_patch) and more being discovered almost monthly. Newly Discovered 'Plastic Island' Shows Global Epidemic Worsening (https://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/01/18-3)

The patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. Despite its size and density, the patch is not visible from satellite photography, since it consists primarily of suspended particulates in the upper water column. Since plastics break down to even smaller polymers, concentrations of submerged particles are not visible from space, nor do they appear as a continuous debris field.


Charles Moore - TED discussion on plastic (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=en4XzfR0FE8) - 7 minutes but alarming facts on plastic toxicity and huge annual increases in waste.

As Japan has serious garbage issues, a Japanese scientist invented a machine that breaks any plastic down into oil! I've mentioned the on MacRumors before as it is an issue the tech industry needs to take into serious consideration. This device is no larger than a microwave and uses less energy than a coffee maker. Read and watch the short 5 min video, if for nothing else than the tech as it's amazing. Hoping quick mainstream adoption lowers the $10k price tag quickly enough for residential use and can make up for its price by reusing the oil. Used in large industrial recycling centers would be amazing!

Plastic to oil fantastic (http://ourworld.unu.edu/en/plastic-to-oil-fantastic/)

Aluminum is currently the best material for mass production in products, especially tech due to e-waste. Bauxite being the most common aluminum ore. Refinement uses much less energy to produce, and is improving with recent advancements, especially compared to the Hall-Héoult Process (the major industrial process aluminum extraction). Aluminum is theoretically 100% recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities and requires only 5% of the energy used to produce aluminum from ore, though a significant part (up to 15% of the input material) is lost as dross (ash-like oxide). Recycled aluminum is known as secondary aluminum, but maintains the same physical properties as primary aluminum. Secondary aluminum is produced in a wide range of formats and is employed in 80% of alloy injections. The process produces aluminum billets, together with a highly complex waste material, which can be reused as a filler in asphalt and concrete.

If you got this far, thank you. Collectively we can make a difference in plastic usage by "voting with our dollars". We don't need more waste; plastic in tech produces much more waste (and chemical waste from wires, displays, etc) than other naturally occurring metals and smelting. It's great Apple is trying to produce a lower cost iPhone, however plastic shouldn't be much cheaper than smelting aluminum, especially as Apple has dedicated plants for product shells using green energy.
Rating: 8 Votes
12 months ago
pffft... Green? Design an all-in-one desktop computer I can replace the motherboard/cpu instead of having the computer being tossed in the dump.

At least let me upgrade the RAM and the SSD/HD.
Rating: 4 Votes
12 months ago
Exactly, as long as she's fighting the "green" fight, she can do no wrong. Terrible that companies like Apple have to hire these androgynous bureaucrats to cover their a$$ from this administration.

If Apple really wanted to make a difference in the environment, they'd throw their weight behind something like the TerraPower nuclear reactor, which Bill Gates is promoting. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-09-25/news/42394809_1_uranium-nuclear-reactor-bill-gates
(http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-09-25/news/42394809_1_uranium-nuclear-reactor-bill-gates)

Apple's initiatives, spearheaded by Lisa Jackson, are window dressing to appease Green Peace, the Sierra Club and other extremist, environmental organizations from blackmailing them with false data: http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/04/17/apple-greenpeaces-cloud-math-is-busted/ (http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2012/04/17/apple-greenpeaces-cloud-math-is-busted/)


Pleased that Apple hired an ethical and upstanding leader like Lisa Jackson.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/epa-chief-lisa-jackson-steps-article-1.1228116
http://www.bizpacreview.com/2012/12/27/epa-chief-resigns-amid-controversy-and-scandal-12414
http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/10/lisa-jackson-speaks-candidly-on-secret-epa-email-account/
http://www.humanevents.com/2012/12/26/hudson-what-is-epa-chief-lisa-jackson-hiding/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/lisa-p-jackson/gIQAf14X9O_topic.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/2/newly-released-emails-show-epa-directors-extensive/?page=all

Rating: 4 Votes
12 months ago
Pleased that Apple hired an ethical and upstanding leader like Lisa Jackson.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/epa-chief-lisa-jackson-steps-article-1.1228116
http://www.bizpacreview.com/2012/12/27/epa-chief-resigns-amid-controversy-and-scandal-12414
http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/10/lisa-jackson-speaks-candidly-on-secret-epa-email-account/
http://www.humanevents.com/2012/12/26/hudson-what-is-epa-chief-lisa-jackson-hiding/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/lisa-p-jackson/gIQAf14X9O_topic.html
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/2/newly-released-emails-show-epa-directors-extensive/?page=all
Rating: 3 Votes
12 months ago
Tim Cook must owe Barack Obama a favor. Why else would he hire a law-breaking, scandal-ridden bureaucrat? Lisa Jackson did her best to shut down the U.S. economy and kill U.S. jobs while ignoring the law and FOIA requests and hiding her communications with illegal personal email accounts using fake IDs.

She deserves a foot up her azz; not a job at Apple.
Rating: 3 Votes
12 months ago
Bah humbug. This is all lip service. If Apple is going to do sustainability and environmentally friendly they would do real legacy support for old hardware and software. Keeping good old equipment useable by supporting it means resources aren't wasted building new equipment. It is insane that Apple fails to support the original iPhone and such, the PowerBooks, etc. Five years is a blink in time. There is no good reason for Apple to stop supporting older software either.
Rating: 3 Votes
12 months ago

I hope Apple doesn't move further away from sustainable and recyclable materials in their products as is the case with the "new" polycarbonate iPhone 5c. .


If the Macbook line (MBPr & Air specifically) are any indication, I'd be inclined towards NOT holding my breath waiting for Apple to give sustainabilty and recyclable materials a seat at their product manufacturing table.

To quote Kyle Wiens, Unfixable Computers Are Leading Humanity Down a Perilous Path/ (http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/06/apples-unfixable-devices/)

I realize Apple has done more than most and I admit to being part of the problem (with my Massive Samsung LCD TV, Macbook Pro, iPhones, etc)

At the same time, spending time, $$$, and energy on building devices with their display fused to the glass, and RAM soldered to the logic board — making future memory upgrades impossible, or gluing the battery to the case, proprietary cables etc. This energy could arguably be better spent on innovation and sustainability and other forward thinking principles.

I'm happy to hear that Apple has an executive department 17 strong and growing. But detect a hint of green-washy odor to this latest announcement, in light of some of the above mentioned product releases the past 4 years.
Rating: 3 Votes
12 months ago

pffft... Green? Design an all-in-one desktop computer I can replace the motherboard/cpu instead of having the computer being tossed in the dump.

At least let me upgrade the RAM and the SSD/HD.


That's crazy talk — it might add a millimeter or two to the width of the computer, and we can't have that!

Maybe they could develop environmentally-friendly glue instead.
Rating: 2 Votes
12 months ago
Hydrogen isn't "clean" unless its being created by Solar or Wind power, directly on site. on site, with no shipping of either the water to be split or the hydrogen from the plant where its being split from water. If they are having it trucked in then thats probably worse than just being hooked up to the grid and sucking down power with everyone else.

Its like Prius cars, the damn battery has been around the world so many times that the overall carbon foot print of the car before you even drive it is already higher than a Hummer.
Rating: 2 Votes

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