Apple has decided to stop submitting its Macintosh computer lineup for the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, review and certification process. The change doesn’t necessarily mean Apple plans to move to a more toxic manufacturing process for its computers, although it does cut the Mac out of the selection process for organizations that require EPEAT certification for their technology purchases.
“Apple has notified EPEAT that it is withdrawing its products from the EPEAT registry and will no longer be submitting its products to EPEAT for environmental rating,” the organization said in a statement. “We regret that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT. We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future.”
EPEAT assigns a rating to electronics based on criteria such as how recyclable the components are, which toxic materials are in the product, how long the product is expected to last, and what types of packaging materials are used.
Apple’s reasoning for pulling out of the EPEAT certification process seems to be that it doesn’t fit with the company’s new design and manufacturing process. “They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” EPEAT CEO Richard Frisbee told the Wall Street Journal.
The do-it-yourself electronics repair website iFixit added that their EPEAT contacts said,
Apple’s mobile design direction is in conflict with the intended direction of the standard. Specifically, the standard lays out particular requirements for product ‘disassemble-ability,’ a very important consideration for recycling: ‘External enclosures, chassis, and electronic subassemblies shall be removable with commonly available tools or by hand.’
The MacBook Pro with Retina Display is very difficult to work on, based on iFixit’s teardown. The display assembly is essentially unserviceable, and in the process of removing the glued in batteries they ended up with a puncture that leaked hazardous liquid.
Apple had been instrumental in developing the EPEAT certification standards. For now, however, it looks like the company won’t be involved in openly pushing environmentally friendly computer designs.