Jul 112012

In my 2+ years blogging on the Apple beat, I’ve come to understand a number of things. I understand that there’s tremendous upside to reporting anything Apple does, especially if that thing can be further monetized with a negative spin. I understand that there are finite reporting resources, especially on the Internet where the pressure to post far outweighs the pressure to report something thoroughly. But sometimes the realities of reporting Apple news just can’t justify some of the stupidity that sites vomit with an air of authority.

If you spent more than five minutes on my site, you know that Gizmodo is a steaming pile of Internet shit. In addition to their lucrative Lego news reporting operation and the poorly-written caterwauls of Jesus Diaz (mostly about Legos, which is intellectually age-appropriate), like all the good trolls, they manage to devote half their ink to slamming Apple with baiting headlines. Let’s talk about Apple’s withdrawal of its products for EPEAT certification.

None of Apple’s Computers Are Environmentally Friendly Anymore (no links for trolltards)

The headline lets you know exactly what you’re in for; any illusion you may have about objective reporting is quickly jettisoned out the airlock. Apple withdraws from EPEAT, therefore solely responsible for “rubbing shit all over the polar bears” (see C.K., Louis). This is Gizmodo at its finest. In their haste to minimize their copy to post time and maximize the story’s linkbait appeal, their headline is both journalistically pathetic and wrong. Pathetic in that it panders to Apple fanboys and haters in equal measure, and wrong because it’s factually incorrect. First of all, equating EPEAT to environmental friendliness is laughable. EPEAT is one yardstick. Second, all of Apple’s lineup, with the one exception of the Retina Display MacBook Pro, has the same level of  “environmental friendliness” that it had before the withdrawl from EPEAT.

Maybe they lost the Zombie Steve Jobs .jpg in one of Gawker’s periodic user data breaches

The purpose of EPEAT is to lessen the negative environmental impact of making electronics by requiring companies to meet eight different environmental-focused categories like a product’s lifetime, toxic materials, recyclability, etc. It’s a good thing. And it’s a pretty big thing that Apple doesn’t care about EPEAT anymore because all of its computers since 2007 have been EPEAT Gold Certified.

2007 also happens to be the year anyone touched the EPEAT standards. They don’t even have a category to qualify mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. Sadly, this is pretty standard for any standard backed by a government agency, which is the case with EPEAT’s EPA backing.

For its part, Apple did respond to the shitstorm of panty-knotting that follows anything potentially critical of Apple, but not before your first knee-jerk reaction was recorded by the tech press. Apparently, San Francisco’s city services has already stated that it will no longer purchase Apple’s products due to their EPEAT withdrawal. Who is the spokesperson making this pronouncement? Why the CIO, of course. From the Techspot article on the topic:

John Walton, when speaking to the Telegraph…said the purchase of Apple computers amounts to around $45,000 of the $200 million IT budget.

Oh snap! It looks like that .0225% of John’s IT budget has been revoked! I’m sure your Windows-dominated shop’s stance about Apple spending is going to cost the company tens of thousands more in copycat solidarity statements like yours! But back to Apple’s response to its EPEAT withdrawal from Kristin Huguet, courtesy of The Loop:

Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2,” Apple representative Kristin Huguet, told The Loop. “We also lead the industry by reporting each product’s greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials.

Apple’s approach is not only comprehensive, it’s the most transparent in the industry. I defy John Walton – or anyone for that matter – to point to any major consumer electronics company that does more in terms of tangible environmental considerations than Apple. Specific to recycling, ostensibly the reason Apple pulled out of EPEAT, one can easily find this nugget on the Apple and the Environment webpage:

Apple has instituted recycling programs in cities and college campuses in 95 percent of the countries where our products are sold, diverting more than 115,504 metric tons of equipment from landfills since 1994. Our goal in 2010 was to achieve a worldwide recycling rate of 70 percent. (To calculate this rate, we use a measurement proposed by Dell that assumes a seven-year product lifetime. The weight of the materials we recycle each year is compared to the total weight of the products Apple sold seven years earlier.) We met and exceeded that goal in 2010. This far surpasses the last reported numbers from Dell and HP, which were each lower than 20 percent. In 2011, Apple global recycling once again exceeded our 70 percent goal, and we are confident that we will maintain this level through 2015.

But Apple doesn’t care about the environment because some iFixIt thugs can’t pry the Retina Pro’s display apart.

In addition to being woefully under-recycled, Dell’s computer lineup (which I’m sure is a staple of SF’s city services kit) isn’t even Energy Star compliant. Contrast that to Apple: every single one of their products meet Energy Star’s guidelines. It’s this simple: Apple doesn’t want its future products’ designs to be tied to an out-of-date standard, so they preemptively pulled out of a program that represents the EPA’s vision of sustainability – as anachronistic as that is.

But hitwhores like Gizmodo don’t want to focus on the quality of the program from which Apple is withdrawing, nor do they want to do an in-depth piece based on Apple’s well-documented efforts to minimize its environmental impact. That would take research. And that’s hard. So they do what Gizmodo always does: sit in a seat of almost perfect ignorance and expectorate the most factually-defective, inflammatory article they can.

 Posted by at 3:38 pm
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