Apple Drops Green Certification Then Starts to Cry, Takes its Ball & Goes Home

Apple has not only stopped submitting hardware to Green Electronics Council’s EPEAT certification program but they are taking the EPEAT certification off  but may be removing the EPEAT branding from its existing products.  Ordinarilly, joining or leaving certification program would not be large news item, but this one is because the US Federal Government REQUIRES that 95% of electronics have the EPEAT certification of “silver” or better.  Many state governments and large corporations also require EPEAT certifications.

So why did Apple leave?  These quotes from BetaNews sum up the situation nicely:

Teardown experts iFixit recently declared the Retina Display-packing Macbook Pro was “The least repairable laptop we’ve taken apart,” and Apple’s svelte designs are leaving progressively less room for end user manipulation and customization.

Section 4.3.1.3 of the revised standard mandates “Easy disassembly of external enclosure.” The criterion is pretty simple, “external enclosures shall be easily removable by one person alone with commonly available tools.”

Apple uses proprietary “Pentalobe” screws to hold together the new iPhone and Macbooks, which immediately throws up a roadblock in compliance.

Furthermore, the non-removable batteries in Apple products present a compatibility problem with the new standard. Section 4.3.1.5 of the revised (EPEAT) standard says circuit boards, batteries, and other components containing hazardous materials must be made safely and easily identifiable and removable, and the Lithium Polymer batteries of the new Macbooks are actually glued into the chassis. Once the case is opened, the fundamental structure is changed unless glue is re-introduced…

How will various governments and corporations respond:

…Upon hearing that Apple no longer supported EPEAT, Jon Walton, Chief Information Officer for the city of San Francisco said all fifty of the city’s agencies will no longer use taxpayer money to buy Apple products…

…my home state of Maryland requires all desktops, laptops, and computer monitors purchased or leased by state agencies to be rated as EPEAT silver or gold.

However, exceptions can be submitted by an agency’s CIO to the Department of Information Technology for a case-by-case analysis. They simply must include a “clear justification of why the non-EPEAT registered product is required as opposed to similar products that are registered as EPEAT Gold or Silver.”

Questions or Comments?