New Apple MacBooks "fail" the green IT test

Green IT

Apple's environmental credentials have been called into question again by a green campaign group who have taken issue with its MacBook Pro range of products.

As reported by IT Pro yesterday, the consumer electronics giant recently reneged on its decision to withdraw itself from EPEAT's global registry of green technologies.

To get listed in EPEAT's directory, manufacturers must meet the IEEE 1680.1 standard, which is a set of performance checks that ensure their products operate in an environmentally friendly way.

Apple is often a design leader in electronics, but they really blew it here.

In an open letter, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, Bob Mansfield, described leaving the registry as a "mistake."

However, in a further blog post, a green campaign group called the Electronics Takeback Coalition claimed the firm's recently launched MacBook Pro models should not be relisted.

"We seriously doubt these MacBooks should qualify for EPEAT at any level because we think they flunk two required criteria in the Design for End Of Life section of the standard," said the post.

In particular, the group had taken issue with Apple's decision to use industrial strength glue to secure the devices' outer casing and batteries.

This, the group claims, goes against EPEAT's guidance that external enclosures and components such as batteries and circuit boards should be easy to remove.

"While you can open up the enclosures, you can't completely remove one half of the casing from the large group of batteries," the blog post states.

"Gluing the battery in does not [qualify] as 'easily removable'. In fact, it's exactly the kind of design that this standard seeks to discourage."

ETC said the reason the MacBook's have been included on the list is because manufacturers are allowed to self-certify their products before EPEAT reviews them.

"Apple is often a design leader in electronics, but they really blew it here. They are ignoring a really important design goal designing to promote product longevity and reuse," said the blog.

"Designers should make it easy for users to replace their own batteries. This is like designing a car with tyres that you can't replace."

This is the second time Apple's decision not to include a removable battery with the MacBook Pro has been questioned.

Last month, an IT repair firm criticised the new devices, claiming they were "impossible" to upgrade.

IT Pro was awaiting a response from Apple to the blog at the time of writing.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.