Apple pulls its EPEAT ‘green’ certification for all 39 Apple products

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Apple has withdrawn all of its 39 products from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), a United States rating organization that certifies electronic devices that meet an environmentally friendly standard.

“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 EPEAT said in a statement.

The EPEAT offers a certification seal for participating manufacturers with devices that meet specific environmentally friendly requirements. These standards set criteria for the environmentally-friendly consumers to make educated purchasing habits.

Among the criteria judged by the EPEAT for PCs and Displays include the following:

  • Reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials
  • Material selection
  • Design for end of life
  • Product longevity/life extension
  • Energy conservation
  • End-of-life management
  • Corporate performance
  • Packaging

Apple has prided itself on its environmentally friendly devices. For example, Apple’s iMac product page is flanked by descriptors notifying consumers of its EPA’s Energy Star qualification for its low power consumption, toxin-free hardware components, and recyclability. At the bottom of the same page, Apple has publicized the iMac’s EPEAT “Gold” award, the highest EPEAT rating indicating that the manufacturer has met all of the required criteria and over 75 percent of the optional criteria. However, you’ll notice that the EPEAT seal has been removed from Apple.com.

The reason for its withdrawal, according to the CIO Journal, was rooted in Apple’s design direction, which would no longer be consistent with EPEAT requirements. The success of many devices is due to its compact form factor and latest advancements in technology, as indicated by the soon to debut iPad mini, the long-time iPhone and iPods, and Retina display technology. By scaling down the size of its latest products, Apple has been forced to pack as many hardware components into a tight space, which unfortunately falls outside of the EPEAT requirements.

According to iFixit.com, the MacBook Pro’s high-resolution Retina display and battery are both glued onto the device’s case. This makes it difficult to disassemble the device, which is one of the certification requirements to be garnered an EPEAT seal, as the battery and display cannot be recycled. To meet the EPEAT standard of approval, the components of the device must be built to be easily separated with common tools that you can find in your garage.

The EPEAT is based on the 1680 family of Environmental Assessment Standards published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Currently the EPEAT is undergoing the development of standards for imaging equipment (printers, copiers, fax machines) and televisions, which will be released in 2012.

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