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Apple defends decision to withdraw from EPEAT certification - Page 4

post #121 of 133

Another nice example: at Apple, innovation is king. If a standard stands in the way of product innovation (which EPEAT does, apparently) they just drop the standard. This happened with Flash and now it happens with EPEAT. Apple must have decided that they are in a strong enough position to do to EPEAT what they did to Flash. Many people will now say (as with Flash) that Apple won't succeed. But I think Apple generally has proven that they are pretty good at estimating these uncertainties.

post #122 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flaneur View Post


I'd have to side with Stanton, Mojo. Your blowhard "defense" comes off as pure jingoism. I find that kind of crowing about American superiority embarassing.

 

Ugh... It's kind of sad that being vocally in support or proud of one's own country in today's world is so frowned upon.

 

I apologize if I offended anyone in these few posts. I didn't mean to start a big off topic rant, just wanted to address someone that I thought went over the line. Also, by being accused of Jingoism (war-mongering) for the very tame things I said, I can see I am outgunned here. Back to the topic at hand.

post #123 of 133
I would propose that since epeat has become a vehicle for big business, i.e. Dekra, the process has been monitized. When money is involved, politics soon comes into play. Could this just be as simple as Apple recognizing that epeat guidelines are now just BS. I guess Apple could say that but what would be the point of throwing epeat under the bus?
post #124 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

 

I've been pretty clear about the detailed explanation I'm looking for. What percentage, by weight, of Apple products does Apple actually recycle when you give them the product for recycling.

 

I don't need to demonstrate that the rMBP is bad for the environment. Apple, like every other manufacturer, needs to demonstrate that their products are and will be substantially recycled.

While I understand what you're going for, I would argue that the focus of your assertion 'misses the forest for the trees'. Focusing on a particular relative metric (like % of product recycled, just for example) seems to cause many to overlook the broader objective, in this case the overall impact the production, consumption & disposal of a product may have on the environment.

 

Unless we want to suggest that Apple takes the ideal environmental stance and stops producing anything, so there's zero impact, we should be looking at the comprehensive picture. As for the call for transparency, it's not realistic to ask for complete disclosure of specific numbers, especially in the PR era where nay-sayers won't hesitate to grab individual statements out of context and abuse them. That said, I think Apple is doing a pretty reasonable job of laying out what their approach is. But if that's not enough for you, as of 2009 (this is by weight according to Apple in the pages I link below) "Apple achieves a recycling rate of 66.4 percent...".

 

Now granted, what we're given is the simplified version, it's not the entire picture and no doubt the numbers are rounded to the most favorable [for Apple] whole number, so I hope we can all please refrain from nit-picking the exact copy, the overall approach is what I'm pointing out here, and that's the high-level (but with some reference numbers) view on how they're approaching environmental responsibility.

 

http://www.apple.com/environment/

http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/environment/

 

Just for fun...

 

Let's pose the hypothetical (contrived, but I'm trying to make a point):

 

Given:

- Company A recycles 50% of their product each year to meet Environmental Protection Agency "SPAZZIX" certification standards

- Company B recycles 25% of their product each year, thus failing to qualify the product for SPAZZIX approval

 

Does this make company A more environmentally responsible, or less impactful (on a per-product basis) than company B?

 

If company A's product contributes 1 pound of materials to be recycled every year, and they recycle 50% of it completely, then that means their product contributes 0.5 pounds of un-recycled material to the environment every year. However, company B has an equivalent product, and they only recycle 25% of it, but because the design only uses two-thirds (66% - i.o.w. it's smaller and/or lighter) of the materials that company A's uses, then they're still only contributing 0.5 pounds of material per product consumed on an annual basis, the same as company A.

 

Now, also consider the reduced backend impact of designing a product that uses less resources. There's fewer minerals mined or natural resources harvested for components, fewer plastics and/or other chemical components produced. There's also less physical mass to move around to ship the product to end users, so there's less energy (fuel) consumed (burned) to transport the goods. There's more to consider as well, but the gist is this: if this is all true, then company B has more of a "green" product than company A despite it not being an EPA SPAZZIX-approved gizmo. It's the overall picture that counts.

post #125 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodGrief View Post

While I understand what you're going for, I would argue that the focus of your assertion 'misses the forest for the trees'. Focusing on a particular relative metric (like % of product recycled, just for example) seems to cause many to overlook the broader objective, in this case the overall impact the production, consumption & disposal of a product may have on the environment.

 

Unless we want to suggest that Apple takes the ideal environmental stance and stops producing anything, so there's zero impact, we should be looking at the comprehensive picture. As for the call for transparency, it's not realistic to ask for complete disclosure of specific numbers, especially in the PR era where nay-sayers won't hesitate to grab individual statements out of context and abuse them. That said, I think Apple is doing a pretty reasonable job of laying out what their approach is. But if that's not enough for you, as of 2009 (this is by weight according to Apple in the pages I link below) "Apple achieves a recycling rate of 66.4 percent...".

 

That number, 66.4%, refers to the weight of products recycled divided by the weight of products sold seven years ago. It does not say anything about the percentage of the materials that are recovered in the recycling process, which is the number that matters. People could return every Apple product to Apple, but if their material recovery rate is low, that's not very helpful.

 

The material recovery rate is the issue here because it is a function of the design and materials choices of the product. Apple only says that what they don't recycle they dispose of responsibly, though they give no details on what that means in numbers.

 

I care about the other metrics too, for example energy use, but there Apple is clearly (and this is easy to verify looking at the specs) the leader. It's easy to see how low the power use of a Mac Mini, for example, is. iPads use even less power.

post #126 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by gctwnl View Post

Another nice example: at Apple, innovation is king. If a standard stands in the way of product innovation (which EPEAT does, apparently) they just drop the standard. This happened with Flash and now it happens with EPEAT. Apple must have decided that they are in a strong enough position to do to EPEAT what they did to Flash. Many people will now say (as with Flash) that Apple won't succeed. But I think Apple generally has proven that they are pretty good at estimating these uncertainties.

 

That's a bad analogy. Here is why: Apple didn't just get rid of Flash. They explicitly pointed to the alternative, HTML5, and began to lead in supporting it in Safari.

 

Don't like EPEAT? Fine. But what is the alternative you suggest? They aren't giving any. That's the problem.

post #127 of 133

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

 

That number, 66.4%, refers to the weight of products recycled divided by the weight of products sold seven years ago. It does not say anything about the percentage of the materials that are recovered in the recycling process, which is the number that matters. People could return every Apple product to Apple, but if their material recovery rate is low, that's not very helpful.

 

The material recovery rate is the issue here because it is a function of the design and materials choices of the product. Apple only says that what they don't recycle they dispose of responsibly, though they give no details on what that means in numbers.

 

I care about the other metrics too, for example energy use, but there Apple is clearly (and this is easy to verify looking at the specs) the leader. It's easy to see how low the power use of a Mac Mini, for example, is. iPads use even less power.

 

Again, I'm arguing that you're waaay too focused on the forest and you're ignoring the trees. However, straight copy from Apple's website:

 

Quote:
When you recycle with Apple, your used equipment is disassembled, and key components that can be reused are removed. Glass and metal can be reprocessed for use in new products. A majority of the plastics can be pelletized into a raw secondary material. With materials reprocessing and component reuse, Apple often achieves a 90 percent recovery rate by weight of the original product.

 

 

So, it's not an absolute promise of 90% recovery on every single product line they make, but given Apple's track record with representing their facts, the 90% claim is probably a safe guideline to work with, even if you want to go pessimistic and assume a 10% margin for PR wiggle-room.

 

Now, going back to what I believe is your original post:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

 

Not so fast.

 

I've said before on this board, a product can be repairable or recyclable, or both, or neither. An open beer can cannot be repaired or reused for its original purpose. It is a disposable product. It can, however, be recycled 100%, economically. All the aluminum used to make it is recovered, so the production cycle is closed. No mining or refining are required (and their associated energy cost and direct pollution of water and so on) except to add stock. If use of aluminum cans decreases, the aluminum can be used elsewhere.

 

It is legitimate for a company such as Apple to attempt a business model where they make products like disposable beer cans, on whatever product life cycle they choose that their customers will be willing to accept. It's a valid design tradeoff.

 

It is absolutely not acceptable, in a world with finite resources, for a company to settle on a business model where they make products that are disposable that cannot be economically recycled. Apple sells tens of millions of devices, so they would be throwing away tens of millions of pounds of aluminum, and many other metals, creating a steady demand for more mineral mining. These days, when the easy mines are all gone, mining is nearly in all cases open pit and low grade ores are processed. This requires huge quantities of water and energy while obliterating habitat wherever it is done.

 

This point is not the same as iFixit. They demand repairability. I say it's a nice to have, but the showstopper is recyclability. I see no evidence from Apple that the retina MacBook Pro can be economically recycled. Apple says it recycles and "responsibly disposes", but these are two very different things.

 

If it can't be really recycled, I won't buy it and neither should anybody else who cares about the planet they are leaving to their children. Apple does not need to abide by EPEAT, but they need to credibly prove that their products will be recycled and not dumped. They have not done this for the non EPEAT products. Till they do, I cannot in good conscience buy a retina MBP or similar new products. Not because EPEAT was perfect, but because it was an objective measure by a third party.

 

The new MacBook Pro has nothing except extremely vague marketing speak.

 

It appears to me that you actually are getting a pretty reasonable answer to your question.

 

You fire off your opinions (as is your prerogative) and tell us about what Apple "should" or "need to" be doing, and what's "acceptable", but my question to you is this: Why? Show us the numbers that support your position. It works both ways. Present to us why what you're suggesting is holistically the most reasonable and responsible approach (not just environmentally, but economically, etc...).

 

I guess I'm wondering why you're jumping on the Greenpeace "Apple hates the environment" bandwagon.

post #128 of 133
And still we will hear how glue makes MacBook Pro Retinas completely unrecyclable. *sigh*
post #129 of 133

The one thing I would like to see is an end to morons placing things such as broken televisions and computer equipment in their trash bins or by apartment dumpsters. It's illegal here to dispose of electronics or batteries in such a manner, yet  people do it anyway. Overall we need better awareness of available recycling programs, especially those that are properly equipped to recycle complex electronics, not those that just try to ship the problem elsewhere. The lack of ability to repair such devices still annoys me to a degree as these things could be donated. You can swap non working parts out for working parts if you have a large supply of old/donated computers. One of the advantages with a Mac would be easy identification and a much more limited range of models. Given that they don't cater to such a thing, it's important that the ability to properly recycle components is engineered into the device. Beyond that I'd like really like companies to be more aggressive on this so that old computers do not eventually end up thrown in the dumpster. Recycling options should be offered whenever you buy a new one. Any recycling costs should be factored into the price of a machine when you purchase it.

post #130 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post

Don't like EPEAT? Fine. But what is the alternative you suggest? They aren't giving any. That's the problem.

The only reasonable solution is another government created system instead of companies taking responsibility themselves? They certainly list what are doing on their site so I don't know why that isn't good enough.

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

Goodbyeee jragosta :: http://forums.appleinsider.com/t/160864/jragosta-joseph-michael-ragosta

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

 

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post #131 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post
 Recycling options should be offered whenever you buy a new one. Any recycling costs should be factored into the price of a machine when you purchase it.

 Such a scheme already exists in the EU, in the UK it is known as WEEE, not sure what other member states call it

post #132 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hungover View Post

 Such a scheme already exists in the EU, in the UK it is known as WEEE, not sure what other member states call it


We have some options here. Some states do tax these things to pay for their disposal. I still see televisions left by apartment dumpsters and people who don't understand that batteries don't go in the trash. It annoys me immensely.

post #133 of 133
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmm View Post


We have some options here. Some states do tax these things to pay for their disposal. I still see televisions left by apartment dumpsters and people who don't understand that batteries don't go in the trash. It annoys me immensely.

 I guess that WEEE and the tax schemes that you mention do go some way to dealing with the problem provided that the trash is actually sorted properly at the disposal plant. That said I guess that most of the content squished by bin lorries just ends up as landfill, as opposed to tvs taken directly to the local dump.

 

Perhaps the taxes need to be higher to encourage vendors to offer incentives to customers to return  obsolete items to the store. Ultimately that may increase the cost of the unit but the disposal/clear up is a (financial) cost that we all bare anyway thorugh wider taxation.

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