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Apple pulls products from eco-friendly registry

Global environmental rating system Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool has announced that computers and electronics manufacturer Apple will no longer be submitting their products for rating.

In a report from the Wall Street Journal's CIO Journal, Apple asked the rating group to pull 39 of its certified desktop computers, monitors, and laptops – which included past versions of the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air – off the list of green products late last month.

"They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the E.P.E.A.T. requirements," E.P.E.A.T. chief executive Robert Frisbee told Wall Street Journal. He says the company did not elaborate, and added that the company was an important supporter before.

The rating system was created through funding from the US Environmental Protection Agency and a number of manufacturers –including Apple – to award certifications to products signifying that they are recyclable and designed to maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental harm.

Also created by the participating manufacturers, together with advocacy groups and government agencies, the rating system's standards indicate that the recyclers of the products must be able to easily disassemble with common tools, and to separate toxic components like batteries.

One of the company's new products, the MacBook Pro with a high-resolution "Retina" display, was "nearly impossible" to fully disassemble, according to, a website that provides directions for users to repair their own machines. The battery was glued to the case, and the glass display was glued to its back, the Wall Street Journal report said.

That product alone would make it ineligible for certification, Mr. Frisbee said. "If the battery is glued to the case it means you can't recycle the case and you can't recycle the battery," he told Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, an analyst of Sterne Agee says Apple put the design first to push for smaller products with better battery life. "They are not trying to purposely make it hard to open, they are just trying to pack as much as they can into a small space–it's a design decision," he told Wall Street Journal.

E.P.E.A.T.'s director of outreach Sarah O'Brien said many companies require that the computers they purchase are from sources certified by the rating system. The U.S. government meanwhile requires that 95% of the electronics it purchases be E.P.E.A.T. certified.

She adds that 222 out of the 300 American universities with the largest endowments asked their IT departments to give preference to EPEAT certified computers, according to a survey they conducted in 2010.

But while Apple earns 10-15 percent of its revenue from educational organizations, Mr. Wu says their other products, namely the iPhone and the iPad, are in a larger part of its product mix. The two are not E.P.E.A.T. certifiable.

"At the end of the day in a business it's really about what works," he added. – N.P. Arboleda

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