Apple Inc. (AAPL) products have been evaluated by the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) for many years now, and a number of their products introduced were rated EPEAT Gold for staying in accordance with green practices. On Friday, AAPL notified EPEAT that they will be withdrawing their products from environmental rating because of design constraints. In an interview with CIO Journal, EPEAT CEO, Robert Frisbee explained Apple’s reasons for pulling their products from being rated.
They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” Frisbee said. The company did not elaborate, Frisbee said. “They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured by this standard anymore.”
EPEAT requires the products they rate to meet certain criteria, such as being able to recycle parts of the product as well as being able to disassemble the product. Apple’s recent design changes on the Retina MacBook prevent users and other 3rd party handlers from tampering with the battery. Apple replaced the previously accessible battery door with a solid piece of aluminum and customized screws.
As a result, Apple’s MacBooks no longer qualify for EPEAT’s evaluations. The “design direction” referred to in the report may also be shed light on Apple’s next generation of Mac computers, which may or may not use products that would meet EPEAT’s criteria. iFixit explained some of the criteria in a response to Apple’s decision to withdraw from EPEAT’s rating.
“According to my EPEAT contacts, Apple’s mobile design direction is in conflict with the intended direction of the standard. Specifically, the standard lays out particular requirements for product “disassemble-ability,” a very important consideration for recycling: “External enclosures, chassis, and electronic subassemblies shall be removable with commonly available tools or by hand.”
Currently, Apple’s iPhone and iPad are not certified by EPEAT and as a result are not affected by Apple’s decision to withdraw its Mac products. There is speculation that this decision may affect Apple financially. At this point, it is unclear if Apple will run into any issues, however, it is interesting to note that the U.S government does require 95% of all electronic purchases to be EPEAT certified.