Apple Addicts Choose A Sleek Design Over Environmental Responsibility

Bound for the garbage heap?

What’s more important to you: A gleaming, sleek computer, or knowing that your purchases are eco-friendly?

Apple is gambling that consumer addiction to its famously beautiful products will outweigh the fact that it recently dropped out of a voluntary green electronics certification program, called EPEAT. The Wall Street Journal reports that last month Apple asked EPEAT to pull its desktop computers, laptops and monitors from the registry. EPEAT certifies that electronics are recyclable, maximize energy efficiency and minimize environmental harm.

It was a controversial move on Apple’s part, made even stranger by the fact that Apple helped create the program in the first place. The program is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers, but its standards were formed jointly with Apple, advocacy groups and government agencies. When Apple removed all 39 of its computers from the registry, they were, in effect, refusing to comply with the very standards that they helped to formulate.

Apple won’t confirm publicly why they pulled their products off the registry. Numerous sources speculate that the newest Macbook Pro with the “Retina” display—which debuted just about a month ago—failed to meet EPEAT standards. The laptop is almost impossible to disassemble, because its battery is glued to both the case and the glass display. EPEAT’s standards require that the product be easy to disassemble with common tools in order to remove toxic products, like a battery.

It’s hard to imagine that a move like this wouldn’t hurt Apple’s sales. U.S. law states that 95% of electronics purchases made by federal agencies must be EPEAT-certified. EPEAT doesn’t certify tablets or phones, so government agencies can still purchase iPhones and iPads. But more forward-thinking cities might follow the example of San Francisco, which recently stated that no government officials will purchase any Apple products. Moreover, dozens of prestigious universities require that their purchases be EPEAT-certified. Cornell and the University of California-Berkeley are already reviewing their Apple purchases.

But despite withdrawal, Apple is still far ahead of the curve in terms of environmental transparency. If you’re nervous about your newly un-certified MacBook, check out Apple’s environmental reports here.

UPDATE: Apple admitted they goofed. (Thanks to Capri Rasmussen for the tip-off).

Image: jaudrius.