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Apple's MacBook Family
Apple's latest MacBook Pro
While disappointed that Apple didn't go further, the environmental group Greenpeace has given the company a pat on the back for reducing the pollutants in the latest edition of MacBook laptops.
The new MacBook, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air introduced Tuesday by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs have lesser amounts of PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, than the previous MacBook line. Greenpeace praised Apple's progress, but said it wished the company had gone further and eliminated the dangerous chemicals.
"A check of the full specs revealed the MacBook Pro, MacBook and MacBook Air, as well as the [new] LED Cinema Display, will now have internal cables free of PVC and will have internal components containing no BFRs," Greenpeace said in a statement released Wednesday. Not quite the breakthrough we were hoping for."
The reductions place the new MacBooks roughly on par with Sony's Vaio notebooks on PVC, Greenpeace said. The BFR-free components represent an improvement over the bar set earlier by Sony in the Vaio line.
More encouraging was Jobs' 2008 Environmental Update, which the company posted Thursday. In the document, Jobs said Apple is on track to eliminate PVC and BFRs in all of the company's new product designs by the end of the year. In addition, Jobs said Apple would surpass a 28% recycling rate this year, two years ahead of schedule, and would provide more information on its products' carbon emission from production and transportation to consumer use and eventual recycling.
If Apple succeeds in eliminating PVC and BFRs, it will become the first computer maker to do so, laying down a challenge to rivals Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Acer, and Toshiba, Greenpeace said. All five computer companies have pledged to remove these chemicals from PCs in 2009.
"If Apple has solved the challenges involved, there's no excuse for any of these companies not to follow Apple's lead on toxic chemicals' elimination now and not wait until the end of 2009," Greenpeace said.