iWaste

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Blue Velvet, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #1
    Although we all love to buy, look at, discuss all things Apple, it's occasionally useful and sobering to see things from another angle.

    iWaste

    p.s. This won't stop me from getting my iPod, eventually... but it's good to be aware of the issues involved.
     
  2. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #2
    It appears that the main problem these people have with iPods (in terms of the toxic contents) is with the battery not being replacable. Which is rubbish. A number of places will sell you a kit with a new battery, a thin bit of plastic (to open the case) and instructions. Or Apple will do it for you if you ask them.
     
  3. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #3
    Sorry, Blue, but we disagree here. :(

    While I think it's a good idea to make products as environment-friendly as possible (I work for a cellphone company that's fairly fanatical about it), I don't agree that they're responsible for the recycling of those products. Or, more specifically, if you're going to hold Apple responsible for recycling iPods and Macs, you should make all the major auto makers responsible for all car recycling. You should make all bleach manufacturers responsible for their portion of sewage treatment. Anyone who manufactures mercury-based trip switches would need to recycle them. Newspaper companies: all old newspapers. Battery manufacturers: all old batteries. Toy companies: all old non-biodegradeable toys

    Ultimately, you'd end up in a position where you'd need an almost infinite number of bins when you put out your trash, so all the various companies could come and sort through it for what they'd made.

    Personally, I think that we all need to pay for our trash to be taken away and recycled - and we all do, in one way or another - and that the companies or governments which do garbage collection should do the recycling. Of course, it'll cost more, and, of course, we'll get taxed/charged more for trash collection, but that will just go to show how careful we need to be about our purchases and garbage.

    But I don't think Apple needs to be held any more responsible for what it sells than any of the other many, many, many companies which sell products which aren't great for the environment should they be tossed.

    Should Apple try to make products greener? Yes. Why? Because it'll cost more to throw away non-green products - perhaps a sales tax could be higher for such non-green items. I don't think they should have to recycle everything they sell.
     
  4. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #4
    You could argue that since Mac owners upgrade their machines less frequently and the iMac and eMacs come in one box rather than the 2 of cheap PCs, Apple owners are contributing less to the landfill sites.

    On the iPod front - at least they use rechargeable batteries rather than AAs which get tossed a lot more often?

    I do agree though that it's important that we consider the waste situation. I hold companies responsible for ensuring the manufacture is as clean as possible - and designing for easy disposal. But I think the end-user has to take the final responsibility for disposing of items safely - although currently few local authorities offer safe ways of doing so.

    MAC cosmetics offer freebies and discounts if you return empty cases back to them. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get similar discounts when trading in old Macs? :)
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    That site says, among other things:

    OK, I can agree with this, but the easiest way to fix it is, I think, to add a tax burden to non-green items. Prepay for disposal, as it were. This needs to be a national policy for it to work, obviously, but it's not inherently difficult to do.

    The site also says:
    So, even if all computer manufacturers would make their systems out of corn starch, 60% of the waste would continue.

    Such a pre-disposal tax would need to be universal.
     
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #6
    If only.... :)
     
  7. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #7
    a lot of landfills will not allow you to dispose of computers, especially monitiors. Ours has employees watching as you dispose.

    a number of items, at least in NC, have a disposal tax when you buy them, like tires, appliances, car batteries,......

    Landfills are a pet pieve of mine, as one was placed near my last house, one reason why I moved. I wish all new landfills were required to have onsite power plants to burn as much waste as possible. Our landfill sits ontop of an underground creek! Super Dumb, when flooding rains hit it over flows downstream where it is above ground and next to a 4 soccer field area. It is unbelievable to me that the locals, aware of the fact that the kids play on fields that the landfill seapage (sp) deposits on every flood.

    I agree with JSW that each manufacturer can't be individually responsible as long as the manufacture is lawful. But it is also why manufacturing has gone to 3rd world countries. But each manuf cann't be knowledgeable of every manicupalities rules and regs.

    I am fairly conservative politically, but landfill technology needs to greatly advance beyond the dark ages idea of digging a hole and shoving junk in. I know they typically use high grade liners now, but it is not enough. In fact our monument to excess often has excessively high methane readings.....

    done with my rant.
     
  8. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #8
    I'm about a thousand times more worried about cars than iPods... There's a lot more cars, they're a LOT bigger, and a lot harder to recycle. And many of them contain parts that are just as toxic when they decay. Anyone who is outraged at Apple needs to go drive through a junkyard, it'll give you some perspective.

    Not to say I don't think Apple should have a recycling program-- they should. It would be perfectly in keeping with their image, and it's part of being a good corporate citizen. So yeah I sent the letter to Jobs. But it's not going to stop me from buying a new iPod when mine is full...

    edit: stubeeef, while i admire the idea, trash-burning powerplants produce huge amounts of air pollution, where it then spreads instead of staying localized (like when they bury it). But I agree that landfill technology really needs to catch up, time is running out.
     
  9. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #9
    Sorry about what was a bit of a rant above. I guess I just didn't like to see Apple - or anyone - singled out because they've more visible even though what they do isn't worse than what others do. Didn't seem fair.

    stubeef and I agree (a bit surprising, given the somewhat political implications of this topic!) that landfill technology is in desperate need of improvement. I see any new revenue that might be generated on hard-to-dispose items simply being wasted on doing things the same old way.

    I've seen some articles on interesting new technologies which essentially process trash like a refinery - high heat, high pressure - and reduce it to its constituent materials. Very cool stuff, demonstrated on a small scale to work, now being scaled up. I hope it succeeds.

    Edit: I agree with paulwhannel - burning helps reduce volume but spreads pollution, possibly a lesser evil on some places, maybe not; the technology I've seen doesn't burn trash.

    Waste is a problem everywhere, and will become even more of a problem in the future. Technology is on the brink of being able to handle it, but I see very little investment there, which is, I think, unfortunate.
     
  10. Blue Velvet thread starter Moderator emeritus

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    #10
    That's OK.
    I'm in two minds about this -- was just playing devil's advocate, really.

    Just starting & reading the discussion is interesting though.

    :)
     
  11. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    #11
    Hmmm...cars are a bigger issue. But they're also a bigger issue that IS BEING DEALT WITH. EOL legislation is being pursued in many countries, and most carmakers are pursuing initiatives of their own to increase recyclability. Also, hazardous chemicals aside, the percent of materials from the average car that get recycled has been higher for decades than for computers -- they simply don't get landfilled the majority of the time.

    As for Apple...well, I'm not outraged. But I think they should do something about this. And Dell, for instance, is. Well, my environmental sensibilities aren't quite enough to get me to buy Dell, but.... I think Apple can do better. And I sent in the letter from the site, but when I did, I added my personal perspective to it:

     
  12. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    Location:
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    #12
    I've just remembered reading something last year about a new EU directive that I believe comes into effect this summer regarding the disposal and recycling of electrical and electronic goods. It also stops various heavy metals being used in the manufacture of new goods

    From the EU page on the subject
    http://europa.eu.int/comm/environment/waste/weee_index.htm
    Despite the fact that the directive comes into force in July of this year, the UK government haven't yet figured out regulations yet
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4105473.stm
     
  13. stubeeef macrumors 68030

    stubeeef

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    #13
    I am not aware of the trash burning ones being worse than other burning plants, I am aware that there are scrubber technologies to clean alot of it. it is a zero sum universe, at least we get some power from it and it takes up less valuable realestate, and cleaner water. the present methane problem is air pollution too.

    I want an iPod photo, but will not buy any until the battery is more plugnplay, mostly for economic reasons, not iwaste.
     
  14. Maestro64 macrumors regular

    Maestro64

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2005
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    #14
    I personally like these self proclaimed watch dog groups/site/organizations that find it easier to tell people what they do wrong than ever offering a better solutions. As always their information is incorrect. Ipods use Lithium Ion batteries which as far I have heard are not an issue. Plus, I believe the latest version of Lithium Ion batteries they are using are actually polymer technology which means they have about and 800 to 1200 cycle life which is the best currently available. Verses all the mp3 players chewing threw Alkaline batteries which we know are bad.

    On the lead thing, gee what else can be used to hold the component on the board. As of right now no one have a reliable solution, there are solutions but they all have downsides which in the end will cost you more since they are less reliable. The entire electronic industry is working on a solution and once one it found everyone will migrate over. If you let it up to these groups to find a solution we would never arrive there.

    As for Dells and HP, the take back program has nothing to do with saving land fills, it about getting used computers off the market. For every computer they take back it is one less that gets hand down to someone else and more computers they sell. Apple does not do this, since the hand me down/user computer market is good way for them to get visibility to people who otherwise would not have bought a computer let alone a mac. Obviously HP & Dell strip out what they can to recycle since they can make money of metal, but most ends up in land fills also. This is a well known marketing scheme, companies do not want to compete with their own used equipment market.

    Someone mentioned the EU directive, BTW it keeps getting delayed it goes fully into effect summer 2006, with some thing being pushed out to 2010 since there are not good solutions like the lead thing. I personally deal with this issue, and its not an easy problem to solve. Since the EU imports so much stuff, it was easy for them to say you have to remove it since it does not impact too many of their own companies. In the nut shell if you ship something into the EU that can not be easily recycle you have to remove it from the EU or pay for its disposal. You can be guaranteed Apple is working on it as many companies are. No one wants to deal with having to recover their products at the end of life.

    Having worked for apple for many years they always done their best to minimize their impact on the environment. They were doing it long before anyone else, when you are head of the curve it is harder for you to make serious impacts like someone who is just starting out.

    My comment to groups who say the Ipod is bad, is this, "when you are naked in the woods living off the land and relying on nothing but what is between your own two ears we can talk, otherwise, you are just as much the problem as the companies making the product."
     
  15. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    who the hell trows away there ipod when the battery dies, seriously if any of you have a dead ipod ship it to me, i will pay you too, i have a broken 1st gen 5GB ipod that i want to get working again (broken mainboard).

    the amount of li ion batterys in the world dwarfs the ipod, picking on it because it's in the limelight is not fair.
     
  16. szark macrumors 68030

    szark

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Arid-Zone-A
    #16
    I think the people who wrote that article really need to visit this link:

    Product Take-Back and Recycling


    Of course, Apple should also draw more attention to this area of their site.
     

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