Apple and Sony Ericsson receive green accolades

Green technology

Technology is getting greener as major companies, such as Apple and Sony Ericsson, move away from using potentially harmful chemicals in their products.

A new report released today by non-profit organisations ChemSec and Clean Production Action (CPA), has listed seven companies taking big steps in removing chlorine and bromine from their products, including Apple, Sony Ericsson and two other tech firms.

"These seven companies demonstrate that there are less toxic and still cost effective alternatives to substances of high concern that do not compromise performance or reliability," said Alexandra McPherson, the CPA project director, in a statement.

"They are well positioned to gain competitive advantage in a marketplace and regulatory environment increasingly sensitive to the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products."

Bromine and chlorine are used in flame retardant and plastic resin applications such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They give off a highly toxic compound called Dioxin when electronic waste is burned or smelted which can be very dangerous, both to humans and the environment around them.

In 2006, Apple was praised for starting its own programme to restrict the use of the two chemicals across its product line. It now has a long list of products entirely free from BFRs and PVC including iPhones and iPods.

Sony Ericsson was also applauded for not only removing substances from its products but also taking on the task of establishing full chemical inventories for all product lines. The company has achieved 99.9 per cent BFR free products and is on target to have no PVC components by the end of 2009.

Seagate has also stopped using chlorine and bromine based chemicals for its disk drives and Silicon Storage was celebrated as the first company to provide others like Apple with Bromine free chips.

Nardono Nimpuno, senior policy advisor at ChemSec, said in a statement: "Reduction of bromine and chlorine is a critical demonstration of environmental leadership on toxic use reduction within the broader sustainability lens of improving the full life cycle impacts of products."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.