Electronics Production | April 01, 2009

Greenpeace: HP, Lenovo and Dell still on the toxic stuff

"We're giving HP, Lenovo and Dell a penalty point in our updated Guide to Greener Electronics, for breaking their promises to phase-out toxic chemicals in 2009. Of the world's five top PC makers, only Apple is truly kicking the habit", reports Greenpeace.
"HP, Lenovo and Dell had promised to eliminate vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009. Now they've told us that they won't make it this year", the environmental organisation states. The phase-out of toxic substances is an urgent priority to help tackle the growing tide of e-waste. Still, producers only go green when they feel public and consumer pressure to do so.

Dell produces a desktop, a notebook and several models of monitors that have a reduced use of PVC and BFRs, and a few monitor models that are free of these substances. Lenovo has two models available that are PVC and BFR-free. HP is trailing behind, and has yet to bring out models with even a reduced use of PVC and BFRs. While HP and Dell have yet to set a new timeline for completely eliminating these substances from all their products, Lenovo has delayed its deadline to the end of 2010.

Two-step detox for companies: Come clean, go green
The Guide to Greener Electronics, now in its 11th update, shows which electronics companies are investing to meet their commitments to remove toxic substances from their products, tackle climate change, and introduce better recycling and take-back policies. When electronics companies pay for the collection (take-back) and recycling of their own products, they have the added incentive to develop cleaner, more recyclable products.

Apple can do it
Apple doesn't have certified PVC-free power cords yet, but in every other way its products are now PVC and BFR free. If Apple can do it, then so should the other leading PC manufacturers. "We believe all electronics companies should have at least one toxic-free line of products on the market by the end of the year. Acer currently remains committed to phasing out PVC and BFRs in 2009", states Greenpeace.

Philips springing forward
The Guide to Greener Electronics star this time goes to Philips -- and the 47,000 people who sent emails to the company! The Dutch electronics giant reacted to the activists' e-waste campaign with a dramatic about-turn on recycling and take-back. It's jumped from 15th to 4th place in one go. Following public pressure, the company has significantly improved its position on taking financial responsibility for the recycling of its products when they become e-waste. Philips still needs to implement a system to make it work, but the environmental organisation is 'delighted with the direction it's heading in'.

Individual producer responsibility is the gift that keeps giving
Recycling costs are influenced by the amount of toxic chemicals present and how easy products are to recycle. This "pay for the mess you make" approach is called "Individual producer responsibility", and it's crucial to the greener development of the electronics industry.

Climate Change on the agenda
Despite an overall slump in scores in the toxics categories, companies are starting to improve their scores on energy criteria. IT is a key sector in the fight against climate change and could enable emissions reductions of 15% of business-as-usual by 2020.

Samsung joins Philips in publically demonstrating support for global steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to tackle climate change. Dell and Nokia join HP and Philips in making commitments to substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations. Several companies are now increasing their use of renewable energy, with Nokia already sourcing a quarter of its electricity use from renewables.

Source: Greenpeace
Image Source: Nokia


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