More and more, you hear about companies that are making an effort to “go green.” Apple, however, is bucking the trend. They went green, but apparently it wasn’t working out for them because they aren’t going to be doing it anymore. By withdrawing all of their future products from EPEAT registration, Apple is positioning itself to abandon green standards that stress qualities like recyclability and ease of repair by ceasing to have any of its devices certified.
EPEAT, or the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, is a global registry intended to index various manufacturers, assess how green their operations are, and provide a rating so that consumers can make environmentally friendly decisions. You might not have heard of EPEAT before, but they’re pretty legit. Among the manufacturers registered are big boys like HP, Dell, Sony, Samsung, LG, Phillips, and a whole lot more. Apple, however, can no longer be counted among them, and will not have any of their future devices rated.
Unsurprisingly, this withdrawal comes shortly after the announcement and release of Apple’s new Macbook Pros, which have become well-known for RAM that is soldered onto the motherboard, and a screen that’s glued to the case, making the laptops notoriously hard — if not impossible — to fix. It’s easy to see how this could lead to all kinds of tech-trash down the line, which is why it doesn’t sit well with EPEAT. That being the case, Apple has decided to bail entirely.
This does not, of course, mean that Apple can’t call their products or manufacturing processes “green,” but it does mean that EPEAT won’t be independently verifying those claims. “Green” is pretty vague when you don’t have any sort of certification process to back it up. While this frees Apple up to do whatever they want when it comes to soldering and gluing things together, it could ultimately hurt their sales; thanks to Executive Order 13423, United States Federal agencies can only purchase equipment that’s been EPEAT certified. Private companies often have similar policies, which could hit Apple hard in the business market.
In the meantime, however, Apple is free to go about building their gadgets as they see fit, and I think it’s fair to say that they build some seriously fantastic gadgets. The decreasing emphasis on building a product that can be repaired could be bad for consumers, and the lack of recyclability is going to be bad for the environment, but is that too high of a price to pay for a slim form-factor and a really sweet lookin’ display? If you’re Apple, the answer appears to be “no, it’s not.”
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