In the statement released yesterday by Steve Jobs, Apple is doing something that it doesn't do that often - that is, talk about plans for the future.
It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished. Unfortunately this policy has left our customers, shareholders, employees and the industry in the dark about Apple’s desires and plans to become greener. Our stakeholders deserve and expect more from us, and they’re right to do so. They want us to be a leader in this area, just as we are in the other areas of our business. So today we’re changing our policy.
The statement makes it clear that Apple is going to completely phase out Brominated Fire Retardants (BFRs) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) by 2008, a year earlier than Dell. But, as Greenpeace explains, Apple still isn't fully up-to-speed on recycling:
But while customers in the US will be able to return their Apple products for recycling knowing that their gear won't end up in the e-waste mountains of Asia and India, Apple isn't making that promise to anyone but customers in the USA. Elsewhere in the world, an Apple product today can still be tomorrow's e-waste. Other manufacturers offer worldwide takeback and recycling. Apple should too!
Also, where are the green products?
Apple hasn't gotten an actual green product to market, but no other electronics manufacture has either. That's a race worthy of the wizards of Cupertino.
It sure is!
Personally, this is good news but there are some big gaps in the statement. For example:
By 2010, Apple may be recycling significantly more than either Dell or HP as a percentage of past sales weight.
That "may be" sounds awfully vague.
Apple plans to reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays when technically and economically feasible.
When it's a toss up between the planet and economic feasibility, the planet can go hang.
Nonetheless, it's a step in the right direction.