Apple Pulls Mac Lineup from EPEAT Certification

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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 out of EPEAT“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.

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Comments

geoduck

Unfortunate.
Understandable given Apple’s design gestalt.
But still a disappointment.

droid

Unfortunate.
Understandable given Apple?s design gestalt.
But still a disappointment.

Apple helped develop this set of standards. Why the heck would they make laptops that don’t conform to it? Are Apple light years ahead in environmental thinking and have this problem solved already?

There is really no excuse for a company of Apples size & experience to neglect these environmental concerns. Apple keep shouting about how recyclable aluminium is but gluing it to lithium batteries somehow isn’t a bad idea?

We know Apple have the skills to design & build sturdy products so why do they need to take a step backwards when they are selling more than ever before?

jbruni

Most likely, it’s the “commonly available tools or by hand” part that is the issue.

Lee Dronick

Apple will recycle your iPod or iPhone, at no cost to you. They may extend that to other products. After you read the page to which I linked, click on the link at the bottom of the page to read about Apple’s environmental programs and policy.

geoduck

Apple will recycle your iPod or iPhone, at no cost to you.

True but I suspect the majority of systems, once they’re on the secondhand market and then sit in a garage or basement shelf for a few years won’t go to Apple for recycling. They will get loaded up “with all that junk” and carted off to the recycling center that has to deal with it. The center near here sends scrap computers to some other third party company that hires minimum wage people with hand tools like screwdrivers and hammers to break them down into their component materials. Not sure what they will do with a bonded, sealed, glued, aluminum case containing hazardous materials like the batteries. they aren’t equipped or trained to handle things like that.

droid

Apple will recycle your iPod or iPhone, at no cost to you. They may extend that to other products. After you read the page to which I linked, click on the link at the bottom of the page to read about Apple?s environmental programs and policy.

In many countries & states it is the law for manufacturers that sell rechargeable batteries & other hazardous materials to recycle them too.

Should we be grateful Apple comply with these laws?

Lee Dronick

Should we be grateful Apple comply with these laws?

Yes

The point is that Apple will take your old iPod or Mac and recycle it properly.

Keith C

Should Apple re-engage EPEAT, you know what it will be called?

“rEPEAT” !!

haha, har har, ROLF-MAO

jameskatt

The problem is that the EPEAT Standard has become anachronistic, archaic, and unnecessary.

Apple is moving toward solid state computers that are as thin as possible but are recyclable.

This goes against the EPEAT Standard.

Suppose Apple makes a computer out of a single slab of silicon or aluminum that is as thin and light as a single sheet of paper.  Then, of course, it cannot be taken apart. Nor can it be repaired.  It would be recyclable.

It would also be non-compliant with the EPEAT Standard since the standard forces manufacturers to create thicker, multi-component computers that can be taken apart.

Apple’s computers make the EPEAT Standard old and unnecessary.

In fact, due to progress, the EPEAT Standard has to be changed to conform with Apple’s direction. Otherwise the standard is a mockery of itself.

droid

The problem is that the EPEAT Standard has become anachronistic, archaic, and unnecessary.

Apple is moving toward solid state computers that are as thin as possible but are recyclable.

This goes against the EPEAT Standard.

Suppose Apple makes a computer out of a single slab of silicon or aluminum that is as thin and light as a single sheet of paper.? Then, of course, it cannot be taken apart. Nor can it be repaired.? It would be recyclable.

It would also be non-compliant with the EPEAT Standard since the standard forces manufacturers to create thicker, multi-component computers that can be taken apart.

Apple?s computers make the EPEAT Standard old and unnecessary.

In fact, due to progress, the EPEAT Standard has to be changed to conform with Apple?s direction. Otherwise the standard is a mockery of itself.

Your strawman argument is anachronistic, and unnecessary. If this ‘mythical computer’ was a solid slab of silicon or aluminium it wouldn’t be a concern for EPEAT, it would be a lump of raw material that can be dropped into a furnace & recycled.

Thin & light does not equal non-recyclable, and you do know what solid state means don’t you? Computers have been solid state for decades.

You are correct EPEAT should change and alter with progress, but forcing recyclers to buy sets of proprietary screwdrivers (that change every few years) is not an answer. Recyclers could drill all the pentalobe screw heads, but then you end up with piles of stainless steel swarf mixed with aluminium swarf.
Using temperature or solvents to remove glued in lithium batteries from aluminium cases is not efficient either and have you ever seen a punctured li-poly cell burn?

EPEAT is about getting manufacturers to not add extra unnecessary stages to disassembly.
Items that conventional recyclers can’t handle end up in a shipping container & get sent to India or China for ‘specialists’ to handle, e.g. teenagers living in dumps that burn off the plastic & filter out the metals.
That seems like a high price of making these devices thin & light.

jameskatt

If Apple disregards the EPEAT standard and everyone else follows it, then Apple will have thinner and lighter computers than its competitors.

By freeing itself of the EPEAT standard, Apple will have much more compelling computers for consumers than its competitors.

Also:  Apple freely accepts old computers for recycling.  The EPEAT standard does not stop Apple from recycling its computers.

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