updated 11:35 am EDT, Tue July 13, 2010
Greenpeace says Dell stalling on green efforts
Greenpeace on Tuesday chastised Dell for not matching Apple in its commitments to making eco-friendly devices. The environmental activists held up the iPhone 4 as proof that even a mainstream, widely sold piece of electronics could be toxin-free and thus that Dell had no excuses for continuing to sell toxic systems. A statement from the organization accused Dell of continuing to "walk back" on promises it made to clean up its computers.
Dell as early as 2006 had promised to get rid of all bromide flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic from every electronic device it made by the end of 2009 and made a public showing of joining The Climate Group in February 2008. Since first committing to a plan, however, it has repeatedly scaled back its efforts. It removed a statement of its 2009 target the same month as it signed on to the Climate Group, and by November 2008 had dropped any mention of a timeline. A year later, it pledged itself again but would only commit to 2011 and limited its scope to PCs, not any other device it makes.
Apple, by contrast, had eliminated all BFRs and PVC plastics from its products by March 2009, with the exception of power cords, and has made a point of shipping devices with as many recyclable products as possible. Nearly all Macs are now made primarily of aluminum and glass, and mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone 4 are also made primarily of recyclable materials. Many also have much improved batteries that both run for longer on a charge and can go through more charges before they run out of power, reducing the amount of dead batteries tossed aside each year.
No explanation has been given by Dell as to why it has been relatively slow to improve its reputation, although it has some gestures such as green packaging and introducing very low-power desktops and netbooks. Rivals of a similar size, such as HP, have nonetheless been faster in upgrading at least some of their model lines to avoid toxins.