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.