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Greenpeace is not impressed by the claims of Apple CEO Steve Jobs that his MacBooks are "the greenest line of notebooks" in the country.  (Source: Apple)
Worker harder, Jobs, if you want our lovin' say ecoactivists

Every season seems to bring new claims by Cupertino's Apple Corp. of its leaps-and-bounds advances in being more environmentally friendly.  And every season brings a scathing report from Greenpeace on how far the company has yet to grow.

Perhaps Steve Jobs and company were tempting fate when Apple announced in a recent series of ads that the MacBooks were "the world's greenest family of notebooks", referencing their power saving use of Intel processors and their halogen and plastic free construction.  Unsurprisingly, Greenpeace was there to punch a hole in Apple's dreams as it delivered its environmental report card full of less-than-glowing things to say about Apple's big claims.

While Apple deserves credit for eliminating brominated flame-retardants (BFRs) and other toxic plastics and managing relatively low power consumption, Greenpeace says the company's lack of providing a timeline in phasing out other potentially harmful compounds used in the laptops and their production is one of its key problems.  Another significant shortcoming is Apple's failure to create environmental impact reports and tackle the problem of tech trash, it states.

Greenpeace gives Apple a failing rating -- 4.3 out of 10 (PDF).  Writes Greenpeace, "[Apple]needs to commit to phasing out additional substances with timelines, improve its policy on chemicals and its reporting on chemicals management."

Apple's spokesperson declined to comment on the criticism, saying merely that customers should check out the "Apple and the Environment" section of the company's website if they want information on the company's environmental policy.

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don't agree
By whiskerwill on 12/1/2008 1:31:32 AM , Rating: 2
While Apple deserves credit for eliminating brominated flame-retardants (BFRs) and other toxic plastics
You assume this is meaningful in any way. Not like they were present in quantities large enough to harm anyone.

It's insanity. We've forgotten all about actual safety and risk-benefit. It's all about eliminating everything "toxic" now, down to the last atom.

Guess what? Everything is toxic. Even water and air, if you get too much.

RE: don't agree
By dcalfine on 12/1/2008 2:11:25 AM , Rating: 1
Everything is toxic. Even water and air…

"Therefore, I hate Apple!"

RE: don't agree
By Plague421 on 12/1/2008 2:59:12 AM , Rating: 2
I think the main concern is not direct contact, but rather what happens after the plastics have been discarded. One laptop of toxic plastic wont hurt anybody, but a mound of laptops will hurt everybody in the general area.

You even said it yourself "Guess what? Everything is toxic. Even water and air, if you get too much ."

RE: don't agree
By whiskerwill on 12/1/2008 10:46:16 AM , Rating: 2
By that, we should ban air and water then too, and make sure no products contain traces of them.

Show me ONE person whose suffered the smallest problem from "toxic plastics" in laptops. Just one.

RE: don't agree
By adiposity on 12/1/2008 1:02:15 PM , Rating: 2

Greenpeace has been filming around Guiyu and caught the recycling work. Women were heating circuit boards over a coal fire, pulling out chips and pouring off the lead solder. Men were using what is literally a medieval acid recipe to extract gold. Pollution has ruined the town. Drinking water is trucked in. Scientists have studied the area and discovered that Guiyu has the highest levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. They found pregnancies are six times more likely to end in miscarriage, and that seven out of ten kids have too much lead in their blood.

RE: don't agree
By adiposity on 12/1/2008 1:04:38 PM , Rating: 2
"The situation in Guiyu is actually pre-capitalist. It's mercantile. It reverts back to a time when people lived where they worked, lived at their shop. Open, uncontrolled burning of plastics. Chlorinated and brominated plastics is known worldwide to cause the emission of polychlorinated and polybrominated dioxins. These are among the most toxic compounds known on earth," Hershkowitz explained.

RE: don't agree
By masher2 on 12/1/2008 3:13:23 PM , Rating: 2
have studied the area and discovered that Guiyu has the highest levels of cancer-causing dioxins in the world. They found pregnancies are six times more likely..."
You realize that the "scientists" in this case are one Chinese researcher who gave those (unpublished, non peer reviewed) figures in a speech last year?

Secondly, even if those results are correct, it in no way demonstrates they're caused by burning plastics in the region. The people in Guiyu live in incredibly poor conditions, with or without pollution, and little to no access to prenatal care. One would expect many more problems with pregnancies regardless.

Third and most importantly, workers breathing in vast amounts of fumes from burning materials are going to suffer health problems regardless of what those materials are. Even if we made laptops out of wood, anyone who chooses to stand over burning piles of them for days at a time is going to suffer health effects .

RE: don't agree
By adiposity on 12/1/2008 3:31:32 PM , Rating: 2
If laptops were made of wood, I doubt they would be exporting them to third-world countries to circumvent recycling laws.


RE: don't agree
By Penti on 12/1/2008 6:11:11 AM , Rating: 1
Well I guess it does help and lessens the contamination in the landfills filled up by westerners illegal garbage trade.

Any how it should be easier to recycle the stuff if theres less heavy metals and chemicals in them. I guess the Alu would be more economical to recover then the plastics used in notebooks anyway.

RE: don't agree
By Frank M on 12/1/2008 8:26:48 AM , Rating: 1
We're all stupider for having read your post. May god have mercy on your soul.

RE: don't agree
By amanojaku on 12/1/2008 9:34:39 AM , Rating: 3
May god have mercy on your soul.

For the non-religious that should read:

May the flying spaghetti monster have marinara as your sauce.

RE: don't agree
By otispunkmeyer on 12/2/2008 4:27:39 AM , Rating: 2
in a single laptop..not enough to harm, but when you gather thousands of them and chuck em in a landfill somewhere...then you got the problems.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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