Apple is no shrinking violet when it comes to publicising its green credentials. From binning chemicals in component parts to powering data centres with renewable energy, the company frequently waxes lyrical about its love of – and respect for – Planet Earth.
A bit of a U-turn today then, with news that Apple has recently asked EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), a US national registry of environmentally sound electronic items, to remove 39 of its products from the its list.
To qualify for EPEAT-certification, products must fulfil a certain criteria, which includes the caveat that recyclers must be able to disassemble products fairly easily, to separate dangerous components (batteries, for instance). Tech heads are already speculating that the move has been spurred by the new super slim MacBook Pro, which features a high-resolution ‘retina display’. The product is “nearly impossible” to disassemble, according to iFixit.com, which notes that the battery is glued to the case and the glass display glued to its back.
Many schools, businesses and government agencies stipulate that their IT equipment is EPEAT-certified, so Apple’s move may well cost them a not-insignificant market share.
Internet giant eBay is usually the first point of call for folk looking to reuse and recycle their unwanted stuff, and now the firm itself is pushing the green revolution further with plans for a renewable energy-powered data centre.
The Utah-based facility will only use traditional electricity as a back-up to its main power grid, and will instead run its operations with power from 30 fuel cell units. Using biogas, a fossil fuel alternative made from organic waste, the company is aiming to generate 1.75 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year with the new installation, making it the largest non-utility fuel cell installation in the US.
The data centre should be up and running by mid-2013.
The company is not the first to reconsider the environmental impact of its data centres; Apple announced at the beginning of the year its plans for a 100 acre solar array at its Californian site, following concerns from Greenpeace regarding unclean data centre energy use.