Report praises Apple's environmental efforts

A new environmental report singles out seven companies for their efforts in reducing the use of harmful chemicals in their products.

Apple won praise for its latest efforts to rid its products of harmful chemicals in a new report released Tuesday from environmental organizations ChemSec and Clean Production Action.

While Greenpeace downplayed Apple's environmental advances in its latest report, ChemSec and Clean Production Action's report, "Greening Consumer Electronics: Moving Away from Bromine and Chlorine," highlights Apple's efforts as one of seven companies who have come up with solutions negating the use of harmful chemicals. Apple was the only computer maker to make the list.

"Apple established an innovative program that restricts the use of nearly all bromine and chlorine compounds across all their product lines," the report says of Apple. "As such, Apple now offers a wide range of PVC and BFR free consumer products including iPhones and iPods, as well as computers that are free of BFRs and most uses of PVC."

Apple recently unveiled a major overhaul of its environmental Web site, allowing users to see exactly what it is doing to help the environment. Not only does it show the individual products, Apple calculates the impact of its products from mining the materials and use to recycling.

Apple's environmental Web site is broken down into several categories, including Life Cycle Impact, Product Usage Impact, and Product Environmental Reports. There is also a section for Apple to post its own updates.

While Apple was the only computer manufacturer to make the list, the report praised six other companies for their environmental efforts, too.

With its products 99.9 percent free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), Sony Ericsson will have no PVC components in its products by the end of 2009, according to the report. ChemSec and Clean Production Action praised the company for "not only removing substances of concern from their products but also taking on the complicated task of establishing full chemical inventories for all their product lines."

Hard drive manufacturer, Seagate, eliminated chlorine- and bromine-based chemistries from its disk drives, and Netherlands-based DSM Engineering Plastics is one of the first to offer engineering plastics that are free of bromine and chlorine.

Nan Ya and Indium were added to the list for their efforts to produce bromine- and chlorine-free components for printed circuit boards, while maintaining the reliability of the products.

Semiconductor manufacturer Silicon Storage Technology was among the first company to provide bromine-free chips to companies like Apple.

Apple on Monday resigned its membership to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in protest over the organization's environmental policy, according to a report on the San Francisco Chronicle.

"Apple supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions, and it is frustrating to find the chamber at odds with us in this effort," Catherine Novelli, Apple vice president of worldwide government affairs, wrote to in a letter to chamber President Thomas Donohue.

With its resignation, Apple becomes the fourth company to leave the Chamber of Commerce in the last several weeks, according to the Washington Post. The others--Pacific Gas and Electric, PNM Resources, and Exelon--have all been power companies.

About the author

Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to record music using a Macintosh. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. He currently runs The Loop.

 

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