Here’s a YouTube Video of a test for toxic chemicals a Greenpeace lab in the UK performed on the Apple iPhone when it came out. According to Greenpeace: “The tests uncovered two types of hazardous substances, some of which have already been eliminated by other mobile phone makers.”
Apple had advertised the iPhone as a green product. I bought an iPod Touch because I didn’t want to get married to AT&T. I did switch headphones from the famous white plasticy (PVC laden) wires in all the ads, to a set of black wired earbuds that came with a friend’s Windows laptop. The replacement is probably just as toxic, but there’s a volume control where the wires split to go to each ear and the dark color is less visible.
The energy savings makes it green compared to a regular TV or stereo. If a computer can be used for telecommuting, that’s 29 times more energy efficient than driving.
Metroactive discusses e-waste and reminded me of the time when I worked at CBE, we joined Greenpeace, Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition (SVTC) and others at an Earth Day protest at IBM’s San Jose plant.
“In 1989, SVTC discovered that IBM’s San Jose facility was the single largest discharger of ozone level-destroying chlorofluorocarbons in the United States.”
“”We had a big demonstration saying ‘Get rid of this stuff, it’s dangerous,’” says Smith. “They said, ‘We don’t know how, it’s too complicated and too expensive.’ Six months later they replaced it with soap and water. That was the big ‘ah hah’ for us. If you push these guys hard enough they’ll put their brilliant engineers on at the design end and solve these problems. If they don’t have to pay those costs, and they can externalize them on society, what do they care?”"
Greenpeace’s pointing out cleaner mobile phone makers seems to have moved Apple in a greener direction lately. Evidence of the shift is the description of how green the MacBook Air is in Steve Job’s keynote announcement. Even Greenpeace’s take on it is more positive. I doubt pressure from the Bush administration had much to do with it. They’re more concerned about baseball and NYPD Blue shower scenes.