Greenpeace takes another chunk out of Apple

18 Jan 2008

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the new MacBook Air, the “world’s thinnest laptop”, at Macworld 2008 this Tuesday past, the Cupertino-based firm was aiming for both slimmer and greener with their most environmentally friendly notebook to date but Greenpeace is not satisfied.

The new MacBook Air will be the first Apple notebook to have a completely arsenic-free and mercury-free display while the circuit boards have considerably less bromide and PVC.

Jobs also pointed out that with 56pc less packaging, there will be less waste generated and the aluminium casing of the MacBook Air is fully recyclable.

Like other Apple products, it meets Energy Star standards and has received recognition from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.

However Greenpeace, while happy Apple had made steps towards becoming more environmentally friendly, felt that it could do better.

“We can say that Apple is getting greener, but it’s still not green enough,” Zeina Alhajj, Greenpeace’s e-waste campaign co-ordinator, told Scientific American.

Rick Hind, legislative director of Greenpeace’s toxics campaign, said that while the MacBook Air is “less toxic”, it could have achieved eco-leadership by being completely PVC- and bromide-free.

This is not the first time Greenpeace has targeted Apple for its toxic product components. When the iPhone came on the scene last year, Greenpeace conducted an examination of 18 internal and external iPhone parts and found toxic brominates in the phone’s antenna and toxic phthalates on the plastic coating of the earbud cables.

Meanwhile, Jobs had promised back in May 2007 that Apple would completely eliminate the use of PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in their products by 2008. Thankfully there are still 11 months to go.

By Marie Boran