May 2, 2007 5:30 PM PDT

Apple letter divulges product tidbits

To satisfy environmental critics, Apple has had to do something it hates--share product details.

Apple Chief Steve Jobs made the company's first public commitment to environmental action Wednesday by posting a 1,880-word letter on the company's Web site touting its efforts at recycling old products and eliminating toxic substances from new ones. The disclosures, according to Jobs, were meant to answer criticism from environmental groups and break the silence about Apple's track record on green practices.

But in doing so, Jobs did what he almost never does.

According to the letter, Apple will introduce its first Macs later this year that have displays backlit by light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which are free of the toxic substance mercury. (It previously has relied on fluorescent lamps and liquid crystal displays that contain hazardous substances like arsenic and mercury, which can leech out into the environment.) In addition, Jobs said that new Macs in 2007 will have glass monitors that are free of arsenic.

"Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of arsenic in all of its displays by the end of 2008. Apple plans to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays when technically and economically feasible," he wrote.

Apple enthusiast site AppleInsider speculated that the 15-inch MacBook Pro will be the first to get the LED treatment, with other laptops likely to follow.

Jobs' openness was well-received among environment activists like Greenpeace. "Today we saw something we've all been waiting for: the words 'A Greener Apple' on the front page of Apple's site, with a message from Steve Jobs saying 'Today we're changing our policy,'" according to a statement from Greenpeace.

Less of a product disclosure than a public service announcement, Jobs also said that the company will begin taking back unwanted iPods for free recycling at its stores around the world beginning this summer. It previously had accepted iPods for recycling at only its U.S. stores.

Still, Greenpeace said this move did not go far enough.

"But while customers in the United States will be able to return their Apple products for recycling knowing that their gear won't end up in the e-waste mountains of Asia and India, Apple isn't making that promise to anyone but customers in the USA," according to Greenpeace. "Elsewhere in the world, an Apple product today can still be tomorrow's e-waste. Other manufacturers offer worldwide takeback and recycling. Apple should too!"

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19 comments

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Greenpeace is all about money
If they didn't have some company to complain about, they couldn't
get the tree huggers to send cash. So they can't be satisfied with
Apple's move... no. Even if Apple had the most eco-PC ever that
was 100 percent made from recycled materials, Greenpeace would
be ******** about the fact that it used electricity.
Posted by Alpah Trion (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More than you think...
Lenovo got the big thumbs-up from Greenpeace only after Lenovo coughed up a big fat wad of donation money to the organization.

I can see Apple telling GP where to stick their solicitations, and I think we've seen the results of the brush-off by GP's actions.

/P
Posted by Penguinisto (5042 comments )
Link Flag
Google uses no Toxic chemicals in their search results.
Yes, Google will return search results about toxic chemicals, but the results will not have any actual Lead, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, or
Decabromodiphenyl Ether.

Thank you Google.
Posted by ralfthedog (1589 comments )
Link Flag
Reuse is better than Recycle
My son is using a used iMac 350Mhz G3 system that I bought him for under $100 over the Internet. If someone turned it in for recycling, we wouldn't even have that option available and couldn't afford to buy a Mac for him.

Many third world nations rely on many wealthy nations to donate their used computers and equipment to them, because they cannot afford new ones.

I only recycle computers and computer parts that cannot be fixed. However, most places that pick them up or take them, charge a fee to take them. It is nice to see, once in a while, companies taking them for free.

I would buy LED monitors myself, except that I cannot afford the high prices. It seems that in going green, the prices go through the roof compared to computers and equipment that aren't as green. This is discrimination against the poor, yet again. Make the prices of green computers and green equipment affordable so that the poor can afford it as well.
Posted by Orion Blastar (590 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tough Luck
Sorry if the title seems a little harsh, but that's the price of
innovation. At least you're not paying for military computing
equipment. Those system's probably cost somewhere in the
millions or billions of dollars. Green products will come down in
price as soon as better and cheaper methods and materials are
produced and are determined to be feasible.
Posted by jedirock (12 comments )
Link Flag
Nothing but a shake down !!
Greenpeace has been nothing but a shakedown operation for some
time now, along with the Rainbow Coalition and others. These
"advocacy groups" are just a couple steps shy of Bronx style leg
breakers as far as I am concerned. If they feel their causes are so
wonderful why don't they simply solicit donations from the general
population. They know darn well their money would dry up and so
they need to create bad publicity for successful companies and
people to fund their coffers, and thats a fact.
Posted by Lpartain (61 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When the going gets tough...
Maybe Greenpeace need to be a tough act and use questionable
tactics to get results. They are up against a lot of people who will
do the same to cover their tracks. Since when did asking
corporations nicely pretty please to clean up their act have any
effect whatsoever?
Posted by Speiler9 (279 comments )
Link Flag
Screw Greenpeace...
We should not really be concerned by a group of eco-terrorists and bullys making crazy demands. BTW, who is stupid enough to just throw away an old iPod or Mac? There is tons of good stuff in there that can be salvaged, or better, just fix it yourself, use it as a techtools recovery box, or a dedicated NAS system, or whatever.
Posted by Reverend_Shank (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I reuse ... but....
Yes, most of my equipment is used, not to save the planet, but to save me money. When I get rid of equipment I either sell it, or throw it out. I am still running PII systems with sub 10gb drives. I still have some 3 & 486 boxes around, and even an 8088 or 2. Dozens of 17" crt's sit in my garage, with several old Macs and AppleII's. I love my "come haul it away" connections, they don't care what happens to it as long as the data is destroyed. Some stuff is worthless, like 17" crt's so they go in the trash 1 or 2 at a time. I strip the steel from the old cases because I get PAYED for scrap steel. That is the key, when I get PAYED to "recycle" this stuff, I will. When I have to pay to recycle it FAT CHANCE.

REMEMBER IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY AND PROFIT no matter if it is greencheese, or whomever.

Oh and I don't buy from companys that spend tons of money on recycling, it drives up the cost of their product, and I refuse to pay that inflated price!
Posted by dart170 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Maybe a Small Fee ...
I saw / heard / read somewhere that the most ( or right up there
) recycled, toxic metal was lead ... as in lead acid batteries.
Cars, trucks and all that stuff. Part of is, if you go down to your
Sears, United Battery, NAPA << and many other locations >>
and purchase a new battery, there's $5 built into the price & a
rebate coupon to boot.

Maybe the same should be done with computers.

BTW ... in my home county, the solid wast facility allows me to
bring in scrap steel, tin cans ( aluminium ) and glass for free. All
have a resale market. Computer monitors ? 4 bucks a shot! So
of course they get tossed into the dumpsters rether than
recycled, as one of the privious writters mentioned.
Posted by Kalama (57 comments )
Reply Link Flag
A Greener Apple
Go to Apple & read the Greener Apple statement.

Draw your own conclusions...not C|Net's or Greenpeace's interpretation / spin.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.apple.com/hotnews/agreenerapple/" target="_newWindow">http://www.apple.com/hotnews/agreenerapple/</a>
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
another thing to remember
Computer companys are on the "recycle" bandwagon to "collect up" all of the computers that could be handed down. Remember Mickeysoft, Dull, Compcrap ... make NO PROFIT on that computer you sold at your yardsale. That computer you donated didn't generate new profit for them. Yet they want to charge YOU to recycle it! what a joke.
A "core charge" (that would be the correct term for the car battery example)is just another way to get that old but still working computer "off the streets" so more new computers can be sold. Always follow the money to find the true motive!

At least I am honest when I say I am all about the money!
Posted by dart170 (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Witch Hunts
IIRC, the original criticisim Greenpeace had of Apple wasn't that it was "BAD", although they certainly say that about all CE makers, but that they didn't publish their roadmap for decreasing waste. And, let's face it, the only reason that they had a pop at Apple was because of the strength of the brand.

Now that Jobs has issued his roadmap, it'll be interesting to see where Apple are the next time Greenpeace decides to bash the electronics guys for their practices. According to the Apple statement, a lot of what they were criticised for had already been dealt with, but not, in typical Apple fashion, publicisied.

For the record, I passed my G3 iMac to my GF, as I'll do with my spare G4 DA when the iMac dies (which won't be long). Then the iMac gets turned into a fishtank and the guts recycled. The iMac, DA, my G4 MDD and my parents' iBook were all salvaged from the companies I've worked at when decommissioned. I've never had to pay for a computer. Reuse until it dies, then dispose of responsibly.
Posted by krosha--2008 (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Original statement
From the Greenpeace website (my emphasis):

Apple has made <b>no changes to its policies<b/> or practices since the launch of the Guide in August 2006. The company scores badly on almost all criteria. Apple fails to embrace the precautionary principle, <b>withholds its full list of regulated substances and provides no timelines for eliminating toxic polyvinyl chloride(PVC) and no commitment to phasing out all uses of brominated flame retardants (BFRs)</b>. Apple performs poorly on product take back and recycling, with the exception of reporting on the amounts of its electronic waste recycled.
Posted by krosha--2008 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Original statement
From the Greenpeace website (my emphasis):

Apple has made <b>no changes to its policies</b> or practices since the launch of the Guide in August 2006. The company scores badly on almost all criteria. Apple fails to embrace the precautionary principle, <b>withholds its full list of regulated substances and provides no timelines for eliminating toxic polyvinyl chloride(PVC) and no commitment to phasing out all uses of brominated flame retardants (BFRs)</b>. Apple performs poorly on product take back and recycling, with the exception of reporting on the amounts of its electronic waste recycled.
Posted by krosha--2008 (5 comments )
Link Flag
Totally recyclable computer
Apple's recent progress in this area is great, but what the world really needs are totally recyclable computers. Now THAT would be the iPod of green computers.
Posted by Xenu7-214951314497503184010868 (153 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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