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Apple Goes Green Again, Agrees To EPEAT Standard

Apple has been unsure whether or not to denounce the certification of EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) for its products, at least last month.

In a new letter released by Apple’s hardware engineering chief Bob Mansfield this week, he said his company will once again comply with the standards of EPEAT. The letter says Apple still make products that conform to Energy Star 5.2 guidelines formulated by the group. To further show Apple’s sincerity to the new agreement, it posted more detailed information about environmental efforts of the company in its website.

Apple had quietly withdrawn its willingness to abide by EPEAT rules last month after it declared that its products should no longer be included in a list of environmentally-sound items.  The said withdrawal sparked some unpleasant reactions not only from residential owners but also from businesses in the United States.  One of the biggest concerns was voiced out by the City of San Francisco a few days ago when it declares that city money will no longer be used to buy Apple due to the company’s withdrawal from EPEAT standard. There are about 50 agencies in the City of San Francisco using Apple products. The City requires only EPEAT-certified laptops, monitors, and desktops can be purchased by the agencies. While the said declaration was not an outright ban, as what was later clarified, the change may mean Apple may be losing a good number of users in this city alone.

From EPEAT’s side, its CEO, Robert Frisbee said that the move of Apple to embrace EPEAT standard again was a “natural alignment” between the two.

The EPEAT registry was created by manufacturers, including Apple, activist groups, and government agencies. The group requires electronic products to have higher energy efficiency and easy to recycle. EPEAT also focuses mainly on carbon emissions from the products themselves. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards are given to products who meet certain level criteria.

Apple has 40 certified products with rated with Gold standard in both Canada and the United States. The list includes laptops, notebooks, desktops, and Apple’s display products. The iPods, iPads, and iPhones are currently not included in the testing of EPEAT although Apple manages its own recycling program for them in its website.

Advocacy groups including Greenpeace International applaud the recent move of Apple to show concern for the environment. Hopefully, Apple will provide more details on how to make some of its products more easy to upgrade or recycle.