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Mac: Killing the Environment?
Article by MacTribe Editor calls Apple on the carpet

 9:04 pm on Feb 8, 2007 (gmt 0)


In December of 2006, Greenpeace released a report ranking the overall environmental policy of major technology companies. Dell was at the top but Apple found itself at the bottom. While top companies like Dell and Nokia have made great strides to eliminate the most toxic chemicals from their products and offer strong recycling programs, Apple has not.




 4:13 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

In addition to the poorly publicized recycling program, Apple is no longer making products to last.

I take exception to this statement. It's unsubstantiated, and counter to my experience. My 2-year old PC is now now wherever the repair guy put it, leaving more room for a pair of ancient Macs. The newer Macs seem to be just as solid.

Greenpeace loves to pick on Apple, probably because Apple does foster a bit of a counter-culture image. Yes, it'd be lovely if Apple had a recycling program, but where are the numbers regarding Apple hardware supposedly filling up landfills?

travelin cat

 5:05 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

Whether or not Apple has a recycling program is something I know nothing about.

However as far as making products that last, I have many 5-10 year old Macs that still perform well. They turn on every morning, are quiet and efficient they do their task and they shut off at night.

Compare this to the pc's we have had to endure for the sake of product testing, they are noisy and die usually within 3 years of purchase. That is why they need a better recycling program, because they DIE.

Mac hardware is state of the art, ever take the back off of a new gen iMac or a G5? It is a thing of beauty. Ever take the back off of a HP, Dell or other pc? Yikes, they look like a Radio Shack kit.


 9:09 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

weird... my mac mini died after a few months, and pc lasted way over 7 years.


 11:01 pm on Feb 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

With respect, the MacTribe Editor seemed rueful when he mentioned "no longer being made to last". I agree that the old Macs were tanks ... I still have a functional IIe at home! However, it is hard to ignore the issues, for example, that iPods have been having with their batteries (non-replaceable or brief lifespan).

I'm typing this on an 8-year old Micron laptop running Windows98, and both my 98SE/Linux and XP Pro systems at home have been functioning quietly and reliably for over 6 years, each.

I believe we'll need to wait awhile before we can determine whether the newer Apple offerings have staying power or if the author is correct in that the new crop may not be as long-lived as their ancestors.

In the mean time, it would be awfully nice to see Apple going beyond the basic legal requirements to do more in the recycling/take-back/green area. (I don't think we'll see them piling up in landfills, by the way ... there just aren't enough of them out there to make a huge dent in the piles of PCs and monitors, which are really the biggest problem. I am glad Apple stopped using CRTs for that reason.)


 2:12 pm on Feb 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

the issues, for example, that iPods have been having with their batteries (non-replaceable or brief lifespan).

Until gizmos all run on fuel-cells, there are going to be environmental problems with batteries. But Apple has implemented a policy for battery replacement for iPods.

[apple.com ]


 5:52 pm on Feb 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

Dell is considered environmentally conscious because you can pay them $2 to plant a tree for you? What kind of tree gets planted? Where? Precisely how many trees does it take to equal a Dell computer?

Can I add a dollar to plant a shrub somewhere every time I fill up my car with gas?

In 2005, in the wake of criticism from environmental organization Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition, Jobs commented on Apple’s being “singled out” and called it “bull#*$!.”



 11:09 pm on Feb 19, 2007 (gmt 0)

You should have checked with Dell before that last post:
We offer consumers worldwide free recycling of any Dell-branded computer equipment at any time. Dell also provides no-charge recycling of any brand of used computer or printer with the purchase of a new Dell computer or printer. This equipment is recycled in an environmentally-responsible manner using our stringent recycling guidelines.

See this information [dell.com] for more about why Dell is considered to be environmentally conscious.

Hewlett-Packard goes even further by offering to recycle ANY computer equipment without needing to purchase anything. Here's their link. [hp.com] Also see: this information [hp.com] for comparison with Apple's numbers, available through the link below.

Here is the jist of Apple's recycling program in the US (they have been required to engage in recycling by Germany and other countries since Apple started, but the US didn't make that demand until much more recently):
For customers in the United States, Apple offers a free recycling program of old computers and monitors with the purchase of a new Mac.

But what if i just want to recycle my old Mac without buying a new one?

Here's the link [apple.com] to a few more details/spin on the topic.

Honestly, I like Apple, but don't you think you should be putting pressure on them to step up their efforts, rather than defending them?

[edited by: StupidScript at 11:15 pm (utc) on Feb. 19, 2007]


 6:14 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

You should have checked with Dell before that last post

I didn't see any information in the marketing links you provided that answered my main questions:

What kind of tree gets planted? Where? Precisely how many trees does it take to equal a Dell computer?

If I had to compare the flashy, pretty webpages put out by all three companies on their recycling efforts, I'd have to say that Dell definitely has the prettiest and flashiest. How many trees did they plant to offset the smug emissions of the graphic artists that made that presentation?

Honestly, I like Apple, but don't you think you should be putting pressure on them to step up their efforts, rather than defending them?

If I found Apple's environmental policies to be insufficient, I would put pressure on them by not buying their products. Purchasing the product then blaming the seller for not reducing the environmental impact of my decision is ridiculous.

It's driving around in your new H2 with a bumper sticker on it that says "I support Hummer eventually reducing this vehicle's environmental impact."

If planting a tree offsets the environmental impact, then the consumer can do that on their own. I consider the tree planting campaign to be a savvy and deceptive method to play on the current fad of "carbon neutrality." The view that any action, no matter how destructive, can be offset by planting a tree provides a poor platform for actually reducing or eliminating environmentally destructive behavior.

Recycling programs are irrelevant if the consumer does not participate. Why do I need a company to recycle my computer for me? Why can't I just do that and be personally responsible for my environmental impact? To blame the company for not making it easy enough for me is an excuse for not caring enough to take personal action.

The environmental impact of Apple's switch to LCDs and the reliability of Apple machines (resulting in fewer cast off replacement parts over the lifetime of the product and fewer "dead" machines that need to be recycled) would far surpass the impact of these voluntary recycling programs.

I only give quarter to environmental activists who can make a significant difference. The longer we focus on public relations friendly band aids the longer until we can actually make a difference. This is no defense of Apple, it's an indictment of companies who care more about what they can say they are doing than actually making a difference.


 6:48 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

LOL! What a way to start the day ...

The way this form of activism works is:

Apple owners love their computers.
They tell Apple:

"I have just become aware of your company's attempts to improve the environment, and I want to support you in any way I can, because I love your products and I think that together we can make a difference in protecting the Earth's environment.

"Your current level of protection is inspiring, however you are not doing even as much as some of the PC manufacturers in this regard.

"Because I want to help heal damage done and to minimize further damages, I am compelled to make my next purchases from the company that provides the highest level of protection for the environment, which currently, and sadly, is not Apple.

"Please help me to get involved in elevating Apple's recycling and take-back services and public awareness of same so that together we can improve your level of participation, and so that I and my company can continue to purchase your products secure in the knowledge that we are doing everything we can to help protect the environment.

"If we act swiftly, we could even show those PC guys a thing or two and make Apple's 'revolutionary' stance really mean something."

People who buy Hummers don't give a darn about the environment. People who buy computers should.

When a "battery replacement program" means subjecting the Earth to another complete machine, not just the battery, it's a $ign that the company that'$ running the program ha$ other thing$ on it$ mind.


 11:26 pm on Feb 21, 2007 (gmt 0)

StupidScript wrote
Hewlett-Packard goes even further by offering to recycle ANY computer equipment without needing to purchase anything.

By reading that, I thought you meant what I suspect you wanted me to read - that they were providing this as a service.

Oh no, they're making money out of it. It's just a profit opportunity.
What they actually say is
Where a replacement product is not being supplied, recycling services can be provided on request at additional cost.

If that's an "offer" I can do without it - it's just publicity-seeking. And the word "additional" is even more scary....


 3:14 am on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

You're right. Maybe I was reading only what I wanted to read.
For me, that's an eye-opener. Thanks!

I'd like to think that HP won't be a choice for further company purchases until they get a little more conscious. Perhaps with my help, I dunno. Our company just bought a bunch of HP/Compaq systems, and now I feel a bit guilty. I'll be looking around for a better way to recycle/re-purpose our old boxes, and study to learn who would make the most Earth-friendly choice, out of the contenders.

Again, honestly, I still favor breaking them down and using my local civic recycling resources to get the materials into the proper channels. Sure it takes a small chunk out of my workday (avg. 20 min. per box about once per year), but it does what I (emotionally) need it to do.

And I really don't care who manufactured it as long as they don't radiate their parts. ;) It's all recyclable in one way or another.

[edited by: StupidScript at 3:23 am (utc) on Feb. 22, 2007]


 3:24 am on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)


Tree-huggin' freaks.

Couldn't figure out how to feed 4 people at a dinner party without a menu and they want to talk about the environment. Kiss my cow eatin' arse. Bunch of Mactivists wearing a ribbon make a difference? Ribbon activism? Umm, yeah...


 2:05 pm on Feb 22, 2007 (gmt 0)

lol DG! :)

Macs would be more of a problem for the environment if more than 1% of computers were Macs. By far the biggest pollution is caused by the Windows upgrade treadmill, where you have to have 1Gb of Ram just to boot Vista. This pushes millions of perfectly functioning older PCs to the landfill. (Perfectly functioning, that is, apart from the fact they're running Windows, and probably a virus-infested Windows at that.)

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