Controversial Apple Laptop Verified as EPEAT-Compliant; Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo Also Approved

by | Oct 15, 2012

Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display, which stirred controversy when the manufacturer withdrew and then reinstated use of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, has been verified as meeting EPEAT standards, as EPEAT announces that all ultralight devices listed in its registry met the organization’s environmental criteria.

This includes ultrathin notebooks from Apple, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba, which were all selected for physical verification testing.

Apple abrubtly pulled out — and then, just days later, reentered — the environmental electronics rating system this summer, leading to speculation that tough disassembly was behind Apple’s withdrawal from the standard: teardown site iFixit said the MacBook Pro with Retina display had a battery glued to the case and was the least repairable they’d ever taken apart. Under EPEAT, manufacturers must show that recyclers can easily disassemble their products and separate batteries and other toxic components.

But following tests conducted by an independent technical lab, EPEAT’s product verification committee has found all investigated ultrathin notebooks to be in conformance with its criteria, clearing the way for all the products investigated to remain on the EPEAT registry. Greenpeace slammed EPEAT’s decision, saying it would add to the world’s electronic waste problem and mean less recycling, PC World reports.

For the tests, the lab bought devices on the open market, and disassemble them according to the instructions provided. Time for total disassembly of each of the products was under 20 minutes in all cases; for the removal of batteries the time required was between 30 seconds and 2 minutes, EPEAT says, adding that these times probably exceed what a skilled recycler would require.

EPEAT said its testing addressed other areas of concern including whether products could be upgraded and if tools were commonly available to accomplish those upgrades.

EPEAT says it took several measures to ensure the registry’s integrity including:

  • A request for formal clarification of the standard requirements from the independent product verification committee, a group of experts on electronics and environmental issues who provide interpretation of conformity requirements and rule on verification findings.
  • A review of publicly available technical information for notebook products in the EPEAT registry.
  • An independent verification investigation for those products where public information did not resolve questions of potential non-conformance.

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