Kyle Wiens of iFixit has called out EPEAT for watering down the standard to an alarming degree and giving the Retina Display MacBook Pro a ‘Gold’ rating.
Wiens notes that the new MacBook is ‘the least repairable, least recyclable computer’ he has encountered in more than a decade of disassembling electronics.
At best, the interpretation of the EPEAT Gold standard is laughably out of touch: it claims proprietary Pentalobe screwdrivers are ‘commonly available tools’ and a USB thumb drive is an ‘upgrade.’ At worst, it may mean that recyclers a decade from now will be faced with a mountain of electronic waste they cannot affordably recycle without custom disassembly fixtures and secret manufacturer information.
Technology undoubtedly makes our lives better. But the social and environmental price of manufacturing electronics is high. If we’re going to pay that price, it’s critical that products last as long as possible. We need strong green electronics standards that encourage long lasting products; the future of our planet depends on it.
It’s believed that Apple knew that their new Retina Display MacBook Pro likely would not meet EPEAT standards and thus withdrew from the program; however, due to fierce backlash from institutions and government agencies they rejoined the program and apologized.