Apple explains why it yanked devices from enviro registry

As concern swells around Apple opting out of the EPEAT registry, the tech giant says, "Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT."

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

Apple responded to criticism today for pulling its products from a green-electronics certification registry -- just as the city of San Francisco vowed to stop buying the company's desktops and laptops for that very reason.

According to The Loop, Apple said it uses rigorous environmental standards to measure its devices, many of which are not used by the certification registry. This registry is called EPEAT and was created by the U.S. government's Environmental Protection Agency and several device manufacturers (including Apple). EPEAT lists products certified to be recyclable and energy efficient.

Here's what Apple's spokesperson Kristin Huguet told The Loop:

Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2. We also lead the industry by reporting each product's greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials.

Apple has a comprehensive section of its Web site dedicated to showing the size of its carbon footprint, along with other environmental information such as its toxin output, carbon emissions, and how much it recycles each year. For instance, the company shows that in 2011, it estimated it was responsible for 23.1 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

EPEAT, however, focuses on hardware recycling rather than measuring toxins and carbon emissions. Recycling is a big deal in the computer world because so many components are noxious and often end up in landfills. In order to get EPEAT certified, companies have to make products that recyclers can easily disassemble and separate dangerous components, like batteries.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the latest MacBook Pro was "nearly impossible to fully disassemble" because the battery was glued to the case and the display was glued to the back. This design essentially renders the computer impossible to fully recycle.

Although Apple responded to questions about yanking its products from the EPEAT registry, it did not entirely address the reason why it decided to pull its devices. CNET contacted Apple for additional information and we'll update this report when we hear back.