Are Apple computers really greener?

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In Apple’s distinctive promotional videos, it always seems as though lead-designer Jonathan Ive cannot fawn enough over his own products.

“When something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical and that’s exactly what the iPad is,” Ive explained in 2010, referring to Apple’s mystical new tablet computer, the iPad. Since the first iPad launched, it seems that Apple’s marketing strategy has devolved further into self-congratulatory verbiage, as if to say with each new product, “We did it again, again.”

At one point,  that same marketing strategy emphasized Apple’s participation in a program known as the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, which lists out a number of criteria that determine how “green” a company’s products are. In other words, companies that use fewer toxic materials, have recycling programs, or attempt to reduce their carbon-footprint in some way are awarded certification by the program. Apple’s Macbook computers used to strongly advertise their limited impact on the environment.

This, however, is no longer the case.

Since revealing features like the “retina” display and flash memory, Apple has dropped out of the program because many of their products are no longer capable of meeting the standards set forth by the EPEAT. For the Macbook pro with retina, which has its battery glued onto the aluminum casing, recycling is more difficult for the average consumer since they can’t separate the two pieces.

Comparatively speaking, Apple still has a rather impressive recycling program nonetheless. While many PC companies like Hewlett-Packard and Dell currently feature EPEAT ratings, they do not have a comprehensive recycling program in the same way that Apple does. Turning in old computers (even PC computers) at certain Apple locations is completely free, and in some cases will earn customers an Apple Store giftcard.

To take a closer look at Apple’s environmental impact, here is a link to the company’s website that deals specifically with carbon emissions.