A Greener MacBook
I don’t know if many of you have seen the new Macbook commercials yet, but Apple has released a new “greener” laptop. The new notebook is free (less than 900ppm Br and Cl, as defined by Apple) of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which are present in many industrial products. The toxicity of many of these compounds has not yet been extensively studied and BFRs are currently showing up increasingly in the environment and in humans (Birnbaum, L; Staskal, D. Brominated Flame Retardants: Cause for Concern? Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 112, 1, January 2004). In addition, all internal cables in the laptop are free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the LED glass display is free of arsenic and mercury and uses 30% less power than traditional laptop displays, the computer is encased in less packaging, and the battery is free of lead, cadmium, and mercury. (A more detailed analysis can be found here.)
The notebook has been rated at the highest level by the EPEAT, an agency that helps electronics manufacturers environmentally evaluate their products. Apple seems to explain a lot of the information regarding the new Macbook’s environmental safety well to the average consumer, but I think the sales pitch of environmentalism still comes into play a bit. Although the notebook can’t be free of all harmful materials whatsoever, it seems like a better (and cooler) option than most of the other notebook computers on the market.