Posted by Renee Schmidt

Apple goes green! Apple has wisely decided to comply with the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) guidelines despite its growing problems with the regulation in the past. Apple’s earlier decision to take its products off EPEAT seemed to be a mistake, as the company failed to recognize the potential sales and goodwill it could lose as a result of that decision.

Apple’s struggle with EPEAT

Apple complied with EPEAT for five years before it decided to take its products off EPEAT. However, Apple has finally reconsidered. EPEAT leads the way for setting standards in the tech industry. EPEAT, a major rating system, rates electronic products based on the environmental risk they pose. The assessment tool rates imaging equipment, computers, and televisions.

With tech companies using EPEAT, customers are able to select products based on their environmental rating. As of now, EPEAT is used all around the world by hundreds of universities, government agencies, and renowned tech companies.

The reason Apple decided to take its products off EPEAT earlier was due to the industrial-strength adhesive used in its latest iPad and MacBook Pro. The company tried making their gadgets as slim as possible, but it had to sacrifice on reparability. Since EPEAT recommends products with long lifetime and discourages the use of toxic material, Apple had a problem with ratings. For instance, Apple made it hard to remove a battery by using strong adhesive, literally making these products disposable and not repairable. The new line of Apple products, however, has a lifetime equal to the lifetime of its respective battery. So although Apple had gained popularity by announcing thinner products, it lost sales from federal agencies. Apple’s decision to revert to EPEAT standards is a business decision, as much as anything else. If Apple goes green for business reasons, or whether because the company is feeling its environmental responsibilities, the decision is either way good for the environment and the end user.

What does Apple have to say about it?

Despite criticism from many environmental organizations, Apple goes green. Apple eliminated the use of CRTs in 2006. Now with its return to EPEAT, for whatever reason, it has clearly indicated its intentions to develop a greener culture.

Here is a look at what Apple is currently doing to help keep the planet green:

  • CRT: Apple does not ship CRTs whereas its major competitors, i.e. Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Gateway continue to ship CRTs.
  • RoHS: RoHS is the latest set of restrictions by the European Union, aiming to eliminate the use of toxic substances in electronics. Apple products comply with RoHS and ban almost all the chemicals covered by RoHS.
  • Recycling: Apple is committed to recycling despite what critics say. The company has jumped from 1.5% in 2002 to 28% in 2010 for weight recycled of past sales. Apple is predicting to achieve 50% by the end of 2012.

Apple is open to discuss its plans to go greener. Despite harsh criticism over Apple’s issue with EPEAT, Apple has been leading the way in many go-greener sectors. Its product recycling and its practices to rely less on toxic materials are clearly making a strong case for Apple as ‘pro green’. The future seems GREENER with Apple!