Well, it looks like we all made a big enough fuss last week, when Apple decided to withdraw all of its products from EPEAT certification. In a letter posted on their official site today, Apple’s Senior VP of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield said that Apple would be putting all of their eligible products back on the EPEAT certification list.
In the letter, Mansfield stresses that Apple never lost their desire to be an environmentally friendly company, and that they have other ways of reducing their environmental impact that EPEAT doesn’t take into account.
…much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT.
For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we’ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting.
He also pointed out that their entire current product lineup meets the most stringent Energy Star 5.2 guidelines, and claims that no one else in the industry is doing that right now. Of course, this is mostly because Apple refreshes their product line much more frequently than others, and most companies still have devices that were certified under the older Energy Star 5.0 guidelines.
It appears that moving forward, instead of simply withdrawing from EPEAT, Apple will be involved in working with EPEAT, to improve their IEEE 1680.1 standards. Whether this is simply lip service, or an actual renewed faith in the agency after the level of customer outcry they received, remains to be seen.
If Apple wishes to have their future products certified by EPEAT, they’re doing to have to rethink their design ethos a bit. As iFixit pointed out when Apple initially withdrew, a big part of the reason for it was that the new Macbook Pro with Retina, and the new Macbook Air, may not have passed. Both have their batteries bonded to the outer chassis, which is a big no-no when it comes to recyclability. Apple chooses this design route because it’s another way or preventing user/third-party serviceability, allowing them to make more money on first-party repairs and AppleCare.
Apple’s going to have to choose between continued EPEAT certification, or continuing to reduce user serviceability (and thus recyclability). It will be interesting to see how many future Apple products show up on the EPEAT list.