Environmentally Friendly Macs?

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by Macette, Apr 25, 2002.

  1. Macette macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2002
    Last night I watched a scary thing on tv (ABC Australia) about all the obsolete computers that end up in landfill - a million last year in Australia alone. CRTs have kilograms of lead in each one (I always wondered why they were so heavy!) and the plastics used to make the casing and stuff leach gross chemicals into the groundwater.

    I don't want to die...

    Does anybody know what Apple's environmental policies are? How do we go about putting pressure on them to make machines which are a) easily upgradable (so that they become obsolete less quickly) and b) made of more friendly, less complex materials so that they're not as much of a hazard when they finally get dumped?

    I think they're doing pretty well with a), but their forefront-of-cool mentality poses a bit of problem in this regard!

    So... what now? Environmentally friendly stuff is really marketable, and I think it would fit right in with Apple's image to push the boundaries.

    What do you people reckon?
  2. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    umm... all macs and equipment have been EnergyStar compliant for a long time, that's sorta good for the enviroment...? hehe... i think this isn't too big of a problem for Apple, since their units have higher resale value and tend to live much longer lives... and all of us mac-junkies collect the old equipment... i doubt too much ends up in the landfill...

    tho i'm pretty sure the ABS-22 plastic that much of the hardware is made out of is coded for recycling... and i'm sure the metal in the frames recycles... so what we really need is a few recycling centers equipped to dismantle old computers, because i should think that most of the materials are readily recyclable...

    we've been trying to pressure Apple into making more upgradable computers for years now, and they just don't seem interested in adding the cost to their consumer models...

    just my perspective :)
  3. Macette thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2002
    i want more green

    i guess what i'd really like to see is Apple being innovative and radical in their approach to environmental friendliness.

    it's all very well Apple being EnergyStar compliant, and being able to tick lots of boxes in standard environmental audit forms - but we know deep down that these standards are not enough. standards like EnergyStar are arrived at with much negotiation with 'stakeholders' - and stakeholders are often big corporations (like oil and gas companies) who have a lot to lose if environmental standards are really high. We've seen things like the Kyoto Protocol, which both the US and Australian governments have refused to ratify, fall by the wayside because various 'stakeholders' haven't been happy with the potential outcomes (like smaller profit margins etc).

    If Apple made reducing environmental impact a priority, then we could see great leaps - hey, they invented the iMac, they can do (just about) anything.
  4. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    A collaboration between computer manufacturers and world governments should take place, and see if this kind of problem can be tackled....... PC's can be recycled and ultimately it is up to individuals (companies) aswell as Governments to arrange recycle possibilities........ it's very disturbing that the amount of lead that are used, and carelessly deposed of....... we have a similar problem here in the UK with fridges and freezers, they basically are not being recycled because of the chemicals inside them.... it's not that they cannot be recycled, it's the cost of it that is putting people off doing this..... :rolleyes:

    Ultimately though, out of all these old PC's that are being thrown away... how many still work?? even if they're low spec machines, there are alot of people that can't afford even a basic computer, or there are people in deprived countries that could certainly make use of these machines, who wouldn't know, let alone care that they aren't the lastest top of the range machines, but would be amazingly grateful and use these machines to there greatest potential....

    These programmes exist, but maybe it'll just take alittle more effort to really work on some of these problems......;)
  5. DavidOS macrumors member

    Apr 16, 2002
    a couple of links

    I thought I remembered reading a few things about this topic a few weeks ago. I went looking and here is what I found . . .

    http://www.apple.com/about/environment/corporate/corporate.html -- every company has one of these Policies, and that doesn't mean that they actually follow it. However, it is good to see that apple has things right on paper.

    http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/0111/27.reportcard.php -- an article on a report about who's good and who's bad on the enviorment in the computer world

    http://www.svtc.org/cleancc/pubs/2001report.htm -- the report in full.

    Overall, it is safe to say that Apple is doing an ok job - at least they are working at it! They are definitely doing a good job COMPARATIVELY. but, at least for me, that is not enough. We all need to keep on pressuring apple to be a leader, not only in innovation, but in low-impact computer business too. This issue is so important to me that if apple did score extra high on a report like this - it might really make a difference on my computer buying choice. Also, if Apple doesn't keep improving, and start being a leader, that could make me look elsewhere. So Apple has to pay attention to this issue, not only for the world's sake, but also for the sake of it's own business.
  6. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3


    Feb 7, 2002
    somewhat off topic... but.

    i'm surprised to hear that australia also didn't support the kyoto idea... i would have assumed australia to be far ahead of america in that thinking... hmm
  7. Hemingray macrumors 68030


    Jan 9, 2002
    Ha ha haaa!
    The only problem here is the fact that we are still making rapid technological advancements in computers. For example, compare a Mac from 1995 to today. Because the advancements are still so rapid, computers become quickly obsolete whether we like it or not. It is not completely possible for a computer to be designed with super long-term use in mind simply because they can't predict the future of computer technology. As time goes on, the performance curve of computers will get harder to discern, and less computers will be dug an early grave.

    We'll survive, and maybe even find a way to reprocess those old pieces of junk.
  8. CHess macrumors regular

    Dec 13, 2001
    San Francisco Bay Area
    This is an important issue and I don't mean to sound dismissive, but Macs generally use far less power than Intel machines, which is why they've been able to minimize the use of fans. Also, the lead content is really mostly a problem because of CRTs, which Apple has phased out except in the low end iMacs.

    Also, as someone here pointed out, many of us have a hard time tossing old Macs. For the most part, they just keep on working. My last four Macs are are all still nearby, with friends, family or storage, etc. As for the plastic cases, has anyone seen the iMac aquariums? And one day, when the LCD iMacs become obsolete or broken, I see some really cool table lamps :)
  9. Macette thread starter macrumors 6502

    Mar 5, 2002
    It's not really so off the topic... Our governments' lack of leadership on such issues is the reason that companies (like Apple or whoever) don't feel under pressure to get things right on an environmental level. They all suck. :mad:

    (edit) And actually, it's interesting to note that in the Report Card that the Computer Take-Back campaign has posted, that Apple does better in Germany, where legislation requires them to have higher environmental standards, than it does in the US (or Australia, for that matter), where legislation is slack. So while they're being okay - they rate 9th on that particular report card - they're just following the rules. That's not Apple's style! They make up new rules - that's what they're built on.

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