Back in July 2012, Apple removed the EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) green certification from its products, resulting in a flurry of excitement when school systems and governmental agencies threatened to drop Apple products from their “approved to buy” lists. About a week later, Apple apologized to customers and put the products back on the EPEAT listing. Now the company is happy to announce that the MacBook Pro with Retina display meets the EPEAT standards.
Previously, the MacBook Pro’s inability to be “upgraded with commonly available tools” kept it and other unibody laptops off of the EPEAT list. EPEAT has changed its definition to now include hard drives and optical drives that can be connected externally through Thunderbolt and USB 3.0.
EPEAT also wasn’t happy with the process of disassembling sealed unibody notebooks, since it makes it difficult to do things like replace batteries or recycle the devices at the end of their useful lives. Manufacturers including Apple provided disassembly instructions, and the EPEAT labs were able to take most laptops apart in 20 minutes or less, removing batteries in less than three minutes.
What’s good for EPEAT isn’t necessarily good for all “green” organizations. According to TechCrunch, Greenpeace’s Casey Harrell bemoaned the EPEAT change in definition, stating that “It’s unclear why EPEAT caved in, but the impact is that EPEAT has confused consumers and businesses who want to buy green electronics that can be repaired and will last a long time, and sets a dangerous trend for the burgeoning market of Ultrabooks.”