Apple Removes Products From EPEAT Green Standard, Could Keep Macs Out Of Enterprise And Education [Report]

Apple Removes Products From EPEAT Green Standard, Could Keep Macs Out Of Enterprise And Education [Report]

The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) “evaluates the environmental impact of a product based on how recyclable it is, how much energy it uses, and how it’s designed and manufactured.” For years, Apple has been one of the EPEAT’s key supporters, with many of the Cupertino company’s computers earning the highest ratings in the industry.

As one of the biggest proponents of green technology and environment friendly packaging, it’s a tad shocking that Apple itself is withdrawing its 39 products from the EPEAT. This means that none of the company’s products technically meet the industry’s green standard anymore. Many large companies, educational institutions, and the U.S. federal government require computers to come with an EPEAT certification, meaning a large portion of the enterprise and education sectors could be barred from purchasing Apple products now.

EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee speaking with the CIO Journal:

“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 iMac previously received the highest EPEAT rating, and Apple still displays the rating on its website. Interestingly, the EPEAT seal is missing from the webpage.

The repair gurus at iFixit have a little more information to add:

According to my EPEAT contacts, Apple’s mobile design direction is in conflict with the intended direction of the standard. Specifically, the standard lays out particular requirements for product “disassemble-ability,” a very important consideration for recycling: “External enclosures, chassis, and electronic subassemblies shall be removable with commonly available tools or by hand.” Electronics recyclers need to take out hazardous components such as batteries before sending computers through their shredders, because batteries can catch fire when punctured.

iFixit recently named the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display Apple’s “least repairable laptop yet.” The company’s mobile products like the iPhone and iPad are nearly impossibly to manually repair as well. Apple has always placed design and customer experience at the forefront of its product decisions, and that vision can sadly no longer share room with the EPEAT’s standards of reparability.

Apple provides a detailed walkthrough of its environmental footprint on its website. We’re hoping that Apple will give more information about this decision to part ways with the EPEAT in the near future.

  • Eric_M_White

    This could come back to bite Apple. Possibly losing the government and education as markets. That could be huge. Especially for the iPad.

  • lwdesign1

    I find this article very disturbing. It is distinctly un-Apple-like in nature, and a severe departure from the ever-persistent Apple philosophy of “do the right thing.” It is a very risky move for the company. Apple is a longterm supporter of various green initiatives, so it makes me very curious about what’s behind this decision to voluntarily remove its products from the EPEAT standard. Give us more information Apple! What gives?

  • segaprophet

    This suggests that the increasingly integrated hardware design approach Apple has taken is not only ultimately anti-consumer, it’s anti-environment. Very troubling, a lot of red flags coming from Apple’s direction lately . .

  • Kenton Presbrey

    I am starting to think that Cook is somewhat of a “Bottom Line” type of CEO which would be a big problem for Apple.

    I honestly don’t think that RMBP would have been released as is if Jobs was still there and I don’t think the New iPad would have been released either.

    I really hope that I am wrong. I have been trying to be as optimistic as possible since Steve passed but some weird shit has certainly been going down over there in Cupertino.

    Al Gore is going to be pissed!!

  • Brandon Dillon

    We are at a point in the technology world that to continue progressing towards more efficient and more capable devices, we are going to have to move beyond “nuts and bolts.” The Macbook Air is a prime example of this. Keeping redundant parts of a computer, like a hard drive enclosure, adds unnecessary thickness and weight and ultimately wastes resources. Why have hand-plugged wire connectors when you can just solder a connection straight between the hardware? Sure, it makes it easier to disassemble and repair, but ultimately, that doesn’t matter as much as the over all design and performance. For most consumers, this is not an issue.

  • ElVox

    I am starting to think that Cook is somewhat of a “Bottom Line” type of CEO which would be a big problem for Apple.

    I honestly don’t think that RMBP would have been released as is if Jobs was still there and I don’t think the New iPad would have been released either.

    I really hope that I am wrong. I have been trying to be as optimistic as possible since Steve passed but some weird shit has certainly been going down over there in Cupertino.

    Al Gore is going to be pissed!!

    You do realize that the third generation iPad was designed while Jobs was still alive, right? And the RMBP probably also was designed while Jobs was alive, tho I’m not sure…but the iPad, no doubt, just by timing.

    The direction Apple has been taking regarding EPEAT has long been coming…the iPhone and the iPad have never been certifiable…the repairability clauses would kill any attempt at certifying them, due to their use of hard-to-repair technologies…and same thing with the MBAir, but even more so…hell, ever tried to open an Apple remote control? no-can-do…and everything Apple makes is going to go that way, because it’s the only (best?) way to get smaller/thinner/lighter without having to invent nanobots (which I’m sure they are experimenting with somewhere in Ive’s dungeon :)

    The only thing I’m surprised by in this is that Apple didn’t do it a couple of years ago.

  • NearOffice

    Steve Jobs would not have allowed this….

  • joewaylo

    They’re going to lose millions going off of EPEAT. It’s their main reason they sell products everywhere.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a staff writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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