Greenpeace Tags HP Building Over Computer Chemical Concerns

by | Jul 29, 2009

8.09.66kw04Greenpeace, showing the kind of embarrassment it can cause a corporation it puts in its sights, painted giant letters spelling out “Hazardous Products” on the rooftop of HP’s headquarters.

The July 28 protest, carried out in non-toxic children’s finger paint, came as a result of HP delaying until 2011 the phaseout of toxic chemicals, including polyvinyl chloride and brominated flame retardants, from its computer equipment. The company had recently backtracked from a promise to cease using the chemicals in 2009, saying that it did not have a suitable replacement for the chemicals.

Greenpeace put the letters, which spanned over 11,500 square feet or about two-and-a-half basketball courts, atop HP’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters.

HP shot back that, “The unconstructive antics at HP’s headquarters today did nothing to advance the goals that all who care about the environment share,” according to BusinessWeek.

On the Greenpeace USA blog, a writer opined: “Greenpeace is tired of hearing excuses from HP. … If Apple can produce electronics that are virtually free of PVC and completely BFR-free — what is the hold-up for HP?”

The protest hearkens back to a 2005 protest, in which Greenpeace activists protested at HP’s headquarters over the same computer chemicals, floating a small blimp that read, “HP: Harmful Products.”

In this most recent protest, Greenpeace even elicited the help of William Shatner, who recorded a message to be sent in a series of robocalls to HP staffers.

In Greenpeace’s latest Guide to Greener Electronics, released in early July, HP ranked 14th out of 18 electronics makers in terms of commitment to reducing harmful chemicals from electronics.

HP reportedly will begin selling a notebook free of BFRs and PVC later this year.

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