Apple pulls products from Environmental Assessment Tool registry

Despite Apple’s efforts — utilizing large solar farms at all of its major campuses, and offering a recycling program for used products — the company continues to catch heat over its effect on the environment.

And this latest move certainly isn’t going to help its case. Word is that the company has just pulled all of its products from EPEAT’s (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) green-friendly registry…

From EPEAT’s website:

“Apple has notified EPEAT that it is withdrawing its products from the EPEAT registry and will no longer be submitting its products to EPEAT for environmental rating.

EPEAT is the leading global environmental rating system for electronic products, connecting purchasers to environmentally preferable choices and benefiting producers who demonstrate environmental responsibility and innovation.”

This is actually a big deal for Apple, as several companies will only purchase products that are EPEAT-approved. It’s one of the many things that businesses will do to “go green,” enabling them to escape criticism from environmental groups and enjoy healthy tax breaks. So as you can see, Apple could end up losing a lot of business over this decision.

But it may not have had a choice. iFixit explains:

“Apple’s mobile design direction is in conflict with the intended direction of the standard. Specifically, the standard lays out particular requirements for product “disassemble-ability,” a very important consideration for recycling: “External enclosures, chassis, and electronic sub assemblies shall be removable with commonly available tools or by hand.” Electronics recyclers need to take out hazardous components such as batteries before sending computers through their shredders, because batteries can catch fire when punctured.”

So it looks like Apple’s withdraw from EPEAT is directly related to design compromises it’s not willing to make. For instance, none of the company’s mobile devices have a removable battery. And we all know how tough it is to operate on products like the iPad.

The question is, is that ok? Should Apple be sacrificing environmental-friendliness in the name of design?