Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Guide to Greener Electronics

Macworld last week reminded me of the case of Steve Jobs vs. Greenpeace, who began ranking electronics companies according to their shade of green last year. The ranking’s first publication in August of 2007 had Apple at the lower third of the 14 companies with an unimpressive score of 2.7 out of 10 and caused a little bit of drama. Here’s the short version: Greenpeace asks Steve Jobs to go green. Steve Jobs responds by asking Greenpeace not to attend Apple conferences. Apple shareholders ask Steve Jobs to go green. Steve Jobs responds by writing a letter highlighting what Apple is doing to go green.

As a result, Apple scored a 6.0 out of 10 in the latest ranking in December 07. The biggest strides were made in reducing the use of toxic chemicals in the new aluminum iMacs and iPods. In addition, the company has set a goal to recycle 30% of the weight of all products sold in the past seven years, up from 9.5% in 2006.

The ranking by Greenpeace is based on several criteria such as a timeline for phasing out all use of vinyl plastic (PVC), a timeline for phasing out all use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and take-back and reuse/recycle programs. According to “The ranking criteria reflect the demands of the Toxic Tech campaign to the electronics companies. Our two demands are that companies should: clean up their products by eliminating hazardous substances; and takeback and recycle their products responsibly once they become obsolete.”

We should also give a shout-out to the companies that consistently perform well in the rankings: Nokia, Dell, and Sony-Ericsson. A special pat in the back should be given to Lenovo, the Chinese computer maker, who scored a 7.3 in the December rankings, up from 1.4 in the August 2006 ranking.

You can check out the latest electronics green o’meter here.


Jodi "Millennial 4 Earth" Williams said...

super dope! Go apple!

Inverdito said...

Does The GreenPeace rating system take into account where the electronics are being recycled? I know that there has been a lot of controversy that US electronics are being recycled in China where the restrictions are very poor. The devices are stripped and the heavy metals are most often left to leech into the ground.

Verde said...

Great question, inverdito. The rating system has three different criteria involving takeback and recycling programs, but none of them require the company to disclose where the electronics are actually being recycled.

The link to the pdf exlaining the rating system is below:

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