AAPL Stock: 117.81 ( -0.22 )

Printed from

Greenpeace takes Apple to task on iPhone

updated 09:35 am EDT, Mon October 15, 2007

Greenpeace vs. iPhone

Apple's iPhone is not in keeping with CEO Steve Jobs' promise to "green" the company, says Greenpeace. The environmental group claims that tests conducted by its UK labs reveal the presence of PVCs and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), both potentialy dangerous compounds. Of 18 internal and external parts, half of them are said to contain brominated material, including the antenna. The PVC in the headphone cables, meanwhile, contains toxic forms of phthalates, chemicals used to increase the flexibility of plastic.

Two of the phthalates are considered dangerous because they may hinder the sexual development of mammals, and are officially listed by the European Parliament as toxins. This does not make they illegal in cellphones, but they cannot be used in toys or any childcare products sold in the continent. Nokia is said to have eliminated PVCs from its phones; Motorola and Sony Ericsson have not, but they have released BFR-free devices.

Greenpeace also takes Apple to task over the iPhone's battery, which is glued and soldered into place, preventing easy replacement and recycling. Likewise, Apple does not have a take-back policy akin to those of Nokia and Sony Ericsson, who reuse and recycle phones old phones sent in to them.

Apple has been a target of Greenpeace for much of 2007, beginning with support of shareholder measures opposed by the company's board of directors, and then sharp criticism for the company's continuing use of toxic chemicals, among them PVCs and BFRs. Greenpeace did raise the company's environmental rank earlier this year, but has remained critical of the company's speed in implementing green products, as well as expanding its recycling efforts.

by MacNN Staff




  1. ttrostel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    We hear often that Greenpeace wants Apple to do more. How do other computer companies stack up? Are they better or worse? Apple appears to have a pretty progressive stance on these issues yet they seem to be garnering a lions share of Greenpeace's attention.

  1. bobolicious

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple preaches design...

    ...'intelligence' and so it would make sense to take them to task on any issues of leadership in environmentally intelligent possibilities - LEDs for backlighting have been mentioned in the past on a more positive note...

  1. Roehlstation

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No take back policy?

    Are they sure about that? (at this point in the life of the iPhone there shouldn't be anyone looking to get rid of their iPhone, wait 2 years after contracts are finished before this is really an issue)

    Here is the issue with user replaceable batteries.

    How many poeple replacing their own battery is actually disposing of the old battery correctly? Just like how many people that do their own oil changes dispose of the oil correctly, by "soldering" the battery to the board (btw it is NOT soldered to the board) they ensure any battery replacement is done by someone that is going to properly dispose of or properly recycle the battery. Greenpeace assumes that by not making the battery user replaceable the user will just throw it out. I'm pretty sure the $400 price tag will prevent that.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: no take back policy

    Are they sure about that? (at this point in the life of the iPhone there shouldn't be anyone looking to get rid of their iPhone, wait 2 years after contracts are finished before this is really an issue)

    I'm sure. Do you know of a take-back policy. Can you find information about such a policy? If there is no public and easily findable policy, then there is no policy.

    And why should it take two years to find out? How hard is it to just come up with these things up front? Other people do it, and yet it always seems the same with apple (and their promoters). Its always "Wait until a need is required, then find out!". You think they could be proactive on such matters, since aren't they supposed to be more than just about the money. (oh, right, I forgot, its the new Apple, they've proven with the iPhone they're all about the money).

  1. Terrin

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I support Greenpeace, even though I think its efforts sometimes are misguided. However, here the battery being soldiered to the iPhone is actually better for the environment and for people. To replace the battery, many people will send the iPhone back to Apple. Apple will likely recycle these batteries. If Apple made it easy to replace the batteries, more people would likely just toss the old battery in with the regular trash.

    Greenpeace's other complaints are valid.

  1. jmelrose

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Greenpeace has proven themselves to be a bunch of overzealous whiners more interested in pointing fingers than educating or providing alternatives. I would guess they COULD find fault in just about ANY product sold in America, aside from organic produce and tree farms, but they choose the ones that get them the most press even it they aren't the biggest violators.

    According to: "Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and arsenic in its products by the end of 2008."

    Gee, this has been posted on the Apple website for weeks. Interesting they needed to do lab tests to figure it out. Your donation dollars at work there. Clearly they needed to report this issue with the PVC and BFRs now since they'll have less to complain about soon, and that means one fewer press opportunity. If they were interested in being fair, the press release would have noted that Apple plans to eliminate those chemicals by the end of 08. If Apple fails to eliminate them then, sure, call them on it.

    And I agree with the poster who pointed out that making the batteries non-user-replacebable means that all of them should get disposed of properly, through Apple, instead of going into landfills when they are swapped out with something from Walgreen's.

    I'm a pretty liberal guy, and I used to be quite the Greenpeace fan. I miss the days when they drove boats in front of whales. Now they're just another SIG with PR to generate.

  1. nickgold2012

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple does recycle

  1. jstephe

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple’s Recycling Program

    Apple’s free recycling program will take back your iPod or any cell phone — regardless of manufacturer or model.

  1. Faceplant

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Well, now wait a minute..

    Apple DID have Al Gore on the front page of their web site, so that outta make up for something. I think that gesture alone gives Apple a pass to have whale blubber in their cafeteria. For a while, anyway.

  1. sixcolors

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Greenpeace = losers

    No one should listen to green peace, they are a bunch of ill informed loosers. How many people are cracking their iphone case to lick the antenna? Know any kids eating the earphone cables?

    Fücking bs green peace

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented