updated 08:25 pm EDT, Tue October 14, 2008
Apple's new MacBooks have been built with environmentally conscious materials and compliance with industry standards, a change that has been welcomed by Greenpeace. The activist group had released a campaign, "Green My Apple," that was designed to put pressure on the computer manufacturer to phase out toxic chemicals, improve recycling programs, and challenge the rest of the industry to do the same. The corresponding Greenpeace website was designed to look like Apple's own, and encouraged visitors to add content.
In addition to meeting the RoHS requirements that insist upon products free of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, PBB, and certain brominate flame retardants, the new notebooks also feature mercury-free LCD displays, arsenic-free glass, PVC-free cables, and recyclable aluminum and glass enclosures.
The company has achieved compliance with Energy Star 4.0 standards for power consumption and efficiency. Packaging has been scaled down, using a MacBook box with 41 percent less volume than the previous version and includes recycled materials. The smaller size is also claimed to reduce the carbon footprint by increasing the number of units that can fit in a shipping container.
Greenpeace made a statement after the release of the last MacBook Air in January that applauded the company for removing PVCs and BFRs, but pushed the bar higher. "Had [the MacBook Air] been [free of hazardous chemicals,] it would have made Apple an ecological leader."
The pressure won't be taken off right away, as the company recently publicly denied suggestions that its Mac Pro computers release toxic chemicals. A concerned owner allegedly contacted Greenpeace and received a referral to a lab that found a number of toxins in the fumes. The group still desires that the company completely remove any toxins from the computers, including notebooks or desktops.
Apple has created environmental reports for each new notebook, available for download from its website, that detail the changes and statistics. The product marketing also includes references to the environmental enhancements, as the company builds its image and tries to quell future criticism.