Apple dumps “green” certification in favour of design freedom

It was inevitable!

Wall Street Journal:

Apple has pulled its products off the U.S. government-backed registration of environmentally friendly electronics.

Apple asked EPEAT, the electronics standards setting group, to pull its 39 certified desktop computers, monitors and laptops, which included past versions of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air, off the list of green products late last month, Robert Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT told CIO Journal. EPEAT, created through funding by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers, awards products a seal to certify they are recyclable and designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental harm.

In order to meet the standards, recyclers need to be able to easily disassemble products, with common tools, to separate toxic components, like batteries. The standards were created jointly by manufacturers, including Apple, advocacy groups and government agencies. Frisbee says an Apple staff member told him at the end of June that the company no longer wanted Apple computers to be listed as EPEAT certified.

“They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” Frisbee said. The company did not elaborate, Frisbee said. “They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured by this standard anymore.”

The mass (or morass may be a better term) of coercive laws, rules and regulations beloved of the politically correct version of environmentalism is counter-productive and unsustainable. It inhibits innovation. Eventually ingenuity has to be given a free hand. The article continues:

One of Apple’s newest products, the MacBook Pro with a high-resolution “Retina” display, was nearly impossible to fully disassemble, said Kyle Wiens, co-founder of iFixit.com, a website that provides directions for users to repair their own machines. The battery was glued to the case, and the glass display was glued to its back. The product, released just a month ago, had not been submitted for EPEAT certification, according to the organization.

Frisbee said that the structure of that laptop would have made it ineligible for certification. “If the battery is glued to the case it means you can’t recycle the case and you can’t recycle the battery,” Frisbee said.

Apple was putting design first in an effort to make products smaller and have batteries last longer, said Shaw Wu an analyst at Sterne Agee. “They are not trying to purposely make it hard to open, they are just trying to pack as much as they can into a small space–it’s a design decision,” Wu said.

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