Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Macbook Air is as Green as it is Thin and Awesome

Most of my friends, enemies, and even some of my frenemies know that I love Apple products. I've used their computers since I was a wee lad, and I'm one of the many fanboys who sits at work furiously reloading macrumors to get the latest updates whenever Steve Jobs gives one of his famous keynote speeches at the Macworld Convention. I just plain like Apple gear. It makes me happy.

So, of course I was all geeked up to learn about the spankin' new Macbook Air that was announced yesterday. I read every speck of information about the new notebook on Apple's site, even knowing full well that I can't afford the darn thing. Well, here's a speck of information for you. Buried on the technical specification page for the Macbook Air, Apple included a little "Environmental Status Report":

"MacBook Air embodies Apple’s continuing environmental progress. It consumes the least amount of power of any Mac and is also designed with the following features to reduce environmental impact:

Highly recyclable aluminum enclosure

Mercury-free LCD display with arsenic-free glass

PVC-free internal cables

Largely recyclable, low-volume packaging

Meets ENERGY STAR requirements

MacBook Air received a Silver rating from EPEAT"
What are we to make of this information? Apple hasn't had a particularly good reputation for its environmental responsibility and Greenpeace pummeled it in 2006, ranking it lowest among top tech manufacturers for their actions and policies. They cited the company's weak (at the time) take-back recycling program and lack of timelines for eliminating yucky polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs).

Probably in response to the activist pressure (which Jobs once called BS), Apple has improved its practices and Mac nerds in the United States can trade in their old computer to be recycled for free. You even get a 10% discount on a new iPod when you trade in the old one. Apple has also commited to completely eliminate PVC, BFRs and arsenic from all of its products by the end of this year. It's hard to believe that I've been buying computers full of deadly ARSENIC and other carcinogens for so many years, but thank God that's going to stop.

What do I think about Macbook Air? If you're choosing a notebook computer based upon its green properties, the Air isn't a bad choice. In fact, it may be the greenest laptop currently on the market. It uses less power due to its LED display backlighting; it has less PVC and BFRs than previous models (but not none); and its aluminum enclosure is ripe for recycling. If you have $1,799 hidden under your mattress and your old lappy is truly obsolete, then I say trade the old one in and go for it. I'll grit my teeth and stick with my 2000 Pismo Powerbook for now. Must... resist... new... toys...

Apple's Recycling Program
Apple's Official Environmental Stance
Macbook Air is Greener (GreenTech)
Macbook Air: Green Equals Sexy (Eco Chick)
Macbook Air is Greenest Apple to Date (Ecofriend)
Apple Grows Greener (Earth2Tech)
Apple Gets Greener (Inhabitat)
Your Computer is Bad for You (Wired)
Greenpeace's Take on Macbook Air


Jasmine Phillips said...

Sooooooo sexy. I am glad that my lust is good for the environment.

Roger said...

Another great way to conserve while using an apple product is to watch you iPod nano in bed, instead of running a full size tv.