Apple gives in to green pressure, calls EPEAT breakup “a mistake”

July 13, 2012

Apple made a bit of a whoopsie last week when it withdrew from EPEAT’s green certification program. Now, the MacBook maker is back on board with the environmental organization and is eager to get its seal of approval for Apple products again.

EPEAT stands for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool. It’s the de facto ratings system for environmentally friendly gadgets, and its seal certifies that products meet certain standards for recycling.

In an open letter posted to Apple’s website, hardware SVP Bob Mansfield wrote, “Many loyal Apple customers… were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”

But not all Apple products will be eligible for the rating. Apple products are increasingly difficult to tear down, due to glued-in batteries and glass displays, and as EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee stated last week, “If the battery is glued to the case, it means you can’t recycle the case and you can’t recycle the battery.” That was the original issue behind Apple’s withdrawal from EPEAT.

Apple continues to emphasize its own energy efficiency and recycling programs as part of its environmental policy, as well as its efforts to rid its gadgets of toxic materials. Mansfield’s letter stated (somewhat passive-aggressively, we might note) that many of Apple’s green innovations have been in areas as-yet unexplored by EPEAT.

“It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever,” wrote Mansfield. “Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve.”

Copyright 2012, VentureBeat

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