U.S. Federal government rethinking buying Apple computers over EPEAT withdrawal

“The feds are thinking twice about buying Apple computers after the company announced plans to withdraw from an environmental rating system,” Michelle Quinn reports for Politico. “Federal officials who focus on sustainability issues met Wednesday to discuss the question, according to a government source, and will seek a meeting with Apple soon. Last week, Apple decided to stop using an environmental certification program, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool run by the Green Electronics Council, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit. EPEAT was developed through a stakeholder process supported by the EPA.”

Quinn reports, “Federal procurement decisions for fiscal 2013 are being made now, the government source said. Federal officials are worried that the government’s efforts to buy environmentally friendly products will be set back, the source said, adding, ‘Apple’s competitors are looking at this and saying if they can get away with this maybe we can too.’ … Apple has told The Loop that it ‘takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2. We also lead the industry by reporting each product’s greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote Tuesday in regard to The City of San Francisco’s knee-jerk reaction to Apple dumping EPEAT:

“Adhering to environmental standards when better options arise is madness. Government is notoriously slow to adapt to new ideas, especially once old ideas are codified.”

The smart and nimble have already figured out why Apple is moving forward and why the company’s approach is better for the environment. The rest are left behind, struggling to figure out why, for example, non-removable batteries coupled with free Apple recycling programs that safely dispose of them in an environmentally responsible manner are better than the old removable batteries, still loved by the EPEAT anachronism, the vast majority of which end up being dumped straight into landfills, the world’s oceans, and God only knows where else.

By the way, bring your old Mac batteries to an Apple Retail Store near you and they’ll recycle them for free.

So, it’s not at all difficult to grasp: You buy the Apple product, you use it up, you send it back to Apple for free, and Apple makes sure it doesn’t end up fouling the planet. A simple, clean closed loop. No other tech company comes close to Apple on protecting the environment. Period.

Yes, Apple has left EPEAT. Quick, Greenpeace et al., mobilize the terminally uninformed, unchain them from the renewable crops, arm them with pitchforks and torches, and peck out the press release: The million moron march on Cupertino starts now!!!

MacDailyNews Note: To recycle your Mac, iPad, iPhone and other products — if your product has monetary value, Apple will apply that value toward an Apple Gift Card — use the Apple Recycling Program.

If all you want is to dispose of your unwanted equipment — regardless of brand — Apple Inc. will help you do that. Apple contracts with Sims Recycling Solutions to responsibly recycle computers and displays from any manufacturer. Sims Recycling Solutions feature domestic processing facilities where a zero-landfill policy and proven sustainability give you peace of mind in knowing that your electronics will be managed responsibly. Just call 800-966-4135 to receive a free prepaid shipping label. Then pack up your equipment using your own box and send it off. For more information about Sims Recycling Solutions, visit oem.srsapp.com/ApplePoweredBysims/.

More information about Apple’s extensive commitment to the environment here.

Related articles:
Apple explains exit from government-backed EPEAT list – July 11, 2012
San Francisco to block Mac purchases citing lack of environmental EPEAT certification – July 10, 2012
Apple pulls products from U.S. gov’t-backed ‘EPEAT’ green electronics list – July 7, 2012
Why Apple’s sealed, non-user-serviceable MacBook Pro with Retina display is a very good thing – June 22, 2012
Teardown of MacBook Pro’s Retina display shows off ‘engineering marvel’ – June 19, 2012
Teardown of MacBook Pro with Retina Display reveals soldered RAM, glued-in battery – June 13, 2012

AnandTech reviews Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display: Editor’s Choice; first Mac to ever receive one – June 23, 2012
AP reviews Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display: An epiphany, makes all other screens look dull and fuzzy – June 16, 2012
Reg Hardware reviews Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display: Drool-worthy – June 15, 2012
USA Today reviews Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display: Powerfully robust, an object of desire – June 14, 2012
ABC News reviews Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display: If you have the money, this is the one to buy – June 14, 2012
Engadget reviews Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display: Redefines the professional notebook – June 13, 2012
PC Magazine reviews Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display: Editor’s choice – June 13, 2012
Apple debuts new TV ad for MacBook Pro with Retina display: ‘Every Dimension’ (with video) – June 13, 2012
AnandTech analyzes Apple’s new MacBook Pro Retina display: ‘Everything is ridiculously crisp’ – June 12, 2012
Hands-on with Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina display (with video) – June 12, 2012
Apple unveils all new MacBook Pro with stunning Retina display – June 11, 2012


    1. A basically free market (as close as we can get/closest example we have today) using 99% PCs. Makes sense. I hate the US politicians. Almost every one of them. I hate almost all of the news organizations, they are all biased and stupid. The US needs to look at reform and the most likely possibility is that the republicans will not like the change.

    2. you know why. if Dells are cheaper to buy than Apples, then the anti-tax crowd would be screaming blooding murder for the “gummint” (sic) to spend any more for better machines.

      The real reason that a democratic government is inefficient is that the bosses — the people — have gotten so lazy that they accept only a candidate from either corrupt party A or B to run the show. Result: corrupt parties do the bidding of their funders, not what you or I want.

      If you want a better government that is responsible to you, elect better representatives, don’t bitch about (and mis-spell) your government.

      1. The real reason that a democratic government is inefficient is.. because money is king and labor is shit.

        Fuck money! I hate it because I don’t have any and I need it too badly to think straight. But what is truly sad is, the rich feel the same; they don’t have enough either, that’s why we’re fucked, even the rich aren’t happy!

        Now we’re caught up in this farcical lie over money and the way the “adults” among us were caught red-handed trying to pretend they knew what was wrong when in fact their ignorance has only made things worse and delayed a full recovery.

        The point is, we haven’t hit bottom yet! We’re still in free fall and we’re worried about the environment?

        The federal government should get out of California so that we can build our own utopia. 👿

  1. The two things are still unclear:

    1) why exactly Apple quit this rating, really?

    2) if USA’s government backs stricter Energy Star instead, why it cares whether Apple participates in softer, older EPEAT standard?

    1. 1. EPEAT standards call for recycling to be possible by untrained workers using simple hand tools (e.g. screwdrivers, pliers, etc.). This would limit Apple’s designers in using things like the unibody aluminum case, rather than a screwed-together plastic case like Dell.

      2. Political correctness. EPEAT is the politically correct standard, never mind reality.

        1. They all still comply (except perhaps the new retina MacBook pro, which has the battery glued into the body). It looks like its preemptive. Apple wants to design products differently in the future, and knows they won’t be compliant with this old standard/certification, so they’re pulling out wholesale.

  2. Frankly the handling of this whole thing has been appallingly bad. Instead of getting out in front of the withdrawal from EPEAT, Apple allowed others to define the issue. Someone in PR is not doing their job.

    1. too true. Apple should have made it a press event before the actual withdrawal. Then they could have made it seem like everyone else is behind the times. Now they’re just reacting. Kind of like antenna gate.

  3. I can’t help but think that keeping Apple products out of Federal government is a good thing.

    With Macs, iPhone, and IPads that Feds might be more productive which means they will find more ways to be corrupt and screw you and me. Therefore, having them toil away on Windows machines, typically running XP, willslow them down a bit–which cannot be a bad thing.

    1. no one has any imagination. These guys think the answer is to keep cranking out cheap plastic crap, as long as it can be broken down into components with simple hand tools.

      Apple instead makes solid products that last as long as you need them to without failing. They also happen to use less power, and are lighter. The trade-off? You have to use specialized tools to break them down at end of life. Apple’s solution? Take the product back and creat a full closed-loop.

      EPEAT’s approach is designed so a 6 year old Indian child can take the metal bits out before burning the plastic.

      Apple’s approach is exactly what a real sustainability expert will tell you is the right way to do it.

    2. I’m surprised you haven’t figured that out yet?

      Every election year, our government is inundated with new ideas that are enacted with no possible hope for future funding, so these organizations limp along, operating on the ideal, not the idea, which is what America has been doing for a hundred years.

      We are still the greatest shell of a nation that ever was, but I don’t hold much promise for these United States, which are becoming more people-like each day, and in the end, my sense is, we’re fast becoming a nation of fifty people and not the homogenous happy group our forefathers envisioned.


  4. By all means, US federal government! Go back to buying Windows PCs and enjoy all the insecurity that goes with them. It’s a good thing to have China PWN every single government computer connected to the Internet! Right?

    Oh and never mind that Apple’s attitude toward the environment is actually BETTER than that needed to qualify for EPEAT. That’s too complicated for you to comprehend, so it has to be bad. Right?

    Hopeless. 😛

  5. Apple is currently active in working with the government in updating the specification. More than likely, Apple did this to intentionally draw attention.

    Apple is working towards a single specification that covers just about everything that makes a product environmentally friendly, no trust recycling.

    Furthermore, I don’t understand how gluing two things together makes something less recyclable. Sure, it might make it harder to recycle, but Apple’s partners may already have a solution in place for it. I’d also like to point out that battery “bricks” are permanently sealed and the enclosures have to be broke open to remove the cells. How is that any easier?

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