Earlier this week the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) made a bit of an environmental stir when it approved five of Apple’s newest ultrathin laptops – even though Apple initially withdrew from the registry because their new models are more difficult to recycle. The move drew criticism from Greenpeace, who accused EPEAT of loosening its standards to give Apple a pass, however EPEAT is sticking to its guns – the green registry just released a statement backing up its admission of the new Apple products.
In response to Greenpeace’s accusation that EPEAT changed its standards to appease the tech giant Apple, the agency explained that their standards apply to “design for end of life” – or the end recyclability of a product. Some have complained that refurbishing and reusing is not possible with Apple’s new laptops because the battery is glued into place, but EPEAT claims that their focus is on the overall recyclability of a product – not its ability to be repaired to extend its life.
EPEAT’s statement also claims that the use of glues and adhesives does not make Apple products more difficult to disassemble for recycling – which again reinforces EPEAT’s hands-off approach to the issue of allowing interchangeability to extend the life of a product.
EPEAT’s standard for computers was written almost 7 years ago – long before technology advanced to the current ultrathin phase. Although they are claiming that their regulations are up to date, revisions should be considered to include repairability – as the model of scrapping an entire product and buying new is not a sustainable solution.