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San Francisco to halt Mac buys in wake of EPEAT issue

updated 01:34 pm EDT, Tue July 10, 2012

Could be harbinger of wider problems for Apple

San Francisco will soon stop buying Macs for the city's 50 agencies, according to Department of Environment officials speaking with the Wall Street Journal. The officials say that within the next two weeks it will send out letters to agencies explaining that Macs "no longer qualify" for city money, following Apple's request to have 39 desktops, monitors, and notebooks pulled from a list of EPEAT-certified products. Workers will still be able to buy Macs, but only through a process described as "long" and "onerous."

Only about 1 to 2 percent of the city's computers are Macs, or about 500 to 700 systems. For Apple, though, the loss of orders could be a harbinger of things to come, since more government bodies could choose to exclude Macs. Legally, 95 percent of all US federal government purchases must be EPEAT-certified. Until recently Apple had slowly been gaining acceptance in government circles.

The decision to backtrack from EPEAT -- which Apple helped establish in 2006 -- is linked to the Retina MacBook Pro, EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee tells the Journal. He explains that the computer wouldn't qualify under EPEAT standards because the computer's battery is glued to the case; an Apple staffer, in fact, is said to have informed EPEAT in June that it was leaving the registry due to a new "design direction." The organization's rules mandate that it must be easy to separate toxic components such as batteries from those that can be recycled.

The battery issue is believed to be a consequence of Apple's focus on making products as thin and efficient as possible. The Retina Pro is significantly thinner than its non-Retina counterparts, something that was achieved only through design decisions that made the notebook extremely hard to repair or disassemble.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. DaJoNel

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-14-10

    Definitely a bad move by Apple. One of the selling features is how green all the products are.

  1. hayesk

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 09-17-99

    Originally Posted by DaJoNelView Post

    Definitely a bad move by Apple. One of the selling features is how green all the products are.



    This doesn't mean their products are less recyclable. It just means they are more difficult to recycle. The parts, once separated, are just as recyclable. I'm sure any competent recycling shop will figure out how to do it. It may cost a little more though.

  1. ljmac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-07-10

    I don't get it. Why withdraw all Macs from the program, instead of just the Retina? This is a boneheaded move from Apple.

  1. lpkmckenna

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 07-04-04

    It could be that Apple was pressuring EPEAT to adjust their standards to something more "future-proofed"; for instance, that glue would replace screws in consumer electronics. When EPEAT resisted, Apple walked away. The fact is, Apple doesn't need EPEAT to market their products as "environmentally-friendly." They can can simply say they disagree with EPEAT on what "environmentally-friendly" really means.

  1. brianmonroe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-11-12

    Originally Posted by hayeskView Post


    This doesn't mean their products are less recyclable. It just means they are more difficult to recycle. The parts, once separated, are just as recyclable. I'm sure any competent recycling shop will figure out how to do it. It may cost a little more though.



    I agree 100% as I was telling my family this weekend. I am sure that it will only be a matter of time before some recycler will figure out a process to deal with all of these used iPhones, iPads and soon MacBook Pro Retna's. The thing is that sense they are so new and there have not been enough of the iPhones and iPads that have been made surpuls there has yet to be a recycling market. So it is like putting the horse before the cart. The market has to be there 1st before the demand can be met. Not only that but Apple products many times are handed down or sold off and get a 2nd life so that is also delaying the evental recycling of iPhones and iPads. Also for the MacBook Pro Retna, That will take some time for those to even need recycling as I am sure most of them are being sold with AppleCare that means that it wil be at least 3 years from now before they will be heading to the landfill and I doubt that it will even be that soon.

  1. brianmonroe

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-11-12

    Originally Posted by lpkmckennaView Post

    It could be that Apple was pressuring EPEAT to adjust their standards to something more "future-proofed"; for instance, that glue would replace screws in consumer electronics. When EPEAT resisted, Apple walked away. The fact is, Apple doesn't need EPEAT to market their products as "environmentally-friendly." They can can simply say they disagree with EPEAT on what "environmentally-friendly" really means.



    I agree 100% From what I am reading, EPAT is out of step with the modern manufacturing processes that Apple is now using to make their iPhones, iPads and now MacBook Pro Retna's. Apple does need to move us to the future and not get held up on their product designs by what EPAT thinks that they should be. Apple's products are Energy Start compliant and they are the most pro environment tech company. They have Al Gore on the board. That should tell you something.

    Not only that but Apple does have a recycling program: http://www.apple.com/recycling/

    So all of this anti-Apple EPAT talk is just a bunch of nonsense cooked up by people that are lazy and do not want to do their homework or just hate Apple for their success. Either way, it does not matter. Apple will be fine. The city government of San Francisco can do what they want. In the long run, it wil not matter as Apple will continue to make the products that real consumers want to by and with the consumerization of IT, there will be some employees that work in the city government of San Francisco that will be brining in their own iPhones, iPads and MacBook Pro Retna's and using them to connect to the city's network.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Greetings. I am unable to delete my posts, and apparently you moderators are on some kind of a strike.

    Therefore, I have removed the content of the original post by hand.

    I am asking for this post to be deleted, since I don't seem to have the option to do that myself.

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