On June 29, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry quietly released a statement that Apple had decided to withdrawal its products and would “no longer be submitting its products to EPEAT for environmental rating.” Yesterday, in an open letter from the Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Bob Mansfield announced that Apple changed its mind and put all eligible products back on EPEAT.
Last week, CNN reported on the news. Apple didn’t say why it removed its products, but EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee told CNN that it was Apple’s newest generation of laptops that was the culprit. “They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” Frisbee said. “They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured by this standard anymore.”
Apparently, the new Retina Display laptops aren’t easily recyclable because their batteries are glued to the aluminum cases. Although, Apple’s website states that the MacBook Pro is recycalable. “Through ultra-efficient design and the use of highly recyclable materials, Apple has minimized material waste at the product’s end of life,” the website reads.
Apple’s decision to leave the standard caused a lot of backlash. While there was no official reason announced, Apple’s VP of Hardware Engineering pointed specifically to public outcry. In the open letter, he states, “We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”
This new change of heart has caused more speculation as to why the tech giant decided to rejoin the standard. It could be related to government policy.
Spokeswoman Sarah O’Brien told CNN that, due to a U.S. government executive order in 2007, 95 percent of all computer-related purchases must meet EPEAT requirements. “That probably means Apple desktop and laptop computers can make up a maximum of 5% of federal agencies’ purchases, if they can buy them at all,” CNN commented. Similar regulations have been put into place in Canada and the U.K.
Apple tried to sneak away from being part of a very popular industry standard for environmental soundness, thinking it wouldn’t matter much since there are plenty of other watchdog agencies the company is involved with. Unfortunately, someone on top forgot about the Federal regulations, which would have crippled their ability to sell to government agencies. Welcome back to the Green-loving fold, Apple.