Apple has quietly made the decision to withdraw its products from the EPEAT registry. EPEAT announced the Cupertino-based company's decision on its website, revealing that Apple had notified the organization of its decision to withdraw its products from the registry as well as the fact that it would no longer be submitting products to EPEAT for environmental rating.
For those not in the know, EPEAT is a global registry for greener electronics. Electronics repair site iFixit describes EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) as the leading green consumer electronics standard. For a product to be EPEAT certified, it must meet certain criteria organized under eight different categories. These include 'End-of-life management,' Packaging,' 'Product longevity/life extension,' and 'Material selection.' According to iFixit, Apple's mobile design direction is in conflict with the intended direction of the EPEAT standard. More specifically, EPEAT's standard calls for a certain degree of repairability, which we all know Apple has been moving away from over the last couple of years.
iFixit's Kyle Wiens spoke to his own EPEAT contacts who explained that product disassembly is important when it comes to recycling the product. The standard demands that certain elements be removable with commonly available tools or by hand. While batteries and RAM in Apple's MacBooks used to be replaceable, these are both now integrated and not user-replaceable. The company even uses special screws to make it more difficult for you to get inside the notebook. Wiens says that when they took the Retina Display MacBook Pro apart, the battery was fused to the upper case. When they finally managed it (the next day), the process they used actually punctured the battery "leaking hazardous goo all over." And these are professionals with oodles of experiences, tools, and lab space.
EPEAT did not offer any explanation as to why Apple was leaving, just that it had decided to withdraw its products from the EPEAT registry, wouldn't be putting forward any more products for certification, and that it was sorry to see Apple go. Similarly, Apple has yet to comment on its decision. We'll let you know if we hear anything more. In the meantime, you can check out EPEAT's mission here, and iFixit's disassembly of the MacBook Pro Retina Display here.