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Greenpeace hails Apple's green laptops

Computer giant Apple yesterday launched what it claims are the greenest laptops ever produced, securing praise from former critic Greenpeace.

The seven new MacBook models all adhere to Energy Star 4.0 energy efficiency standards, are fully compliant with the EU's Restrictions on Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, and have attained a gold ranking in the US Green Electronics Council's EPEAT rating system.

They also all feature a new LED-backlit display that contains no mercury or arsenic and uses up to 30 per cent less energy than previous designs.

Meanwhile, the new MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro have both been designed using a unibody enclosure made from a single block of aluminium, which the company claims makes the machines thinner, more durable and easier to recycle.

"Apple has invented a whole new way of building notebooks," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "And, just as importantly, they are the industry's greenest notebooks."

In what has been described as an industry first, the MacBooks also contain no potentially harmful brominated flame retardants (BFRs), while the internal cables and a number of components are PVC-free.

The launch is a milestone in Apple's environmental commitments, which were made last year following a high-profile Greenpeace campaign against the company's perceived lack of environmental strategy.

"The new MacBooks are a major step forward," said Greenpeace campaigner Zeina Alhajj. "The models are still not entirely free of PVC, but they mark an industry first in having a BFR-free motherboard. Apple is now setting standards for other manufacturers to follow."

Writing on the company's website, Jobs said that Apple was still on track to meet its goal of eradicating PVC and BFR from all new products by the end of the year. He added that it had increased the amount of products it recycled by 57 per cent last year.

Jobs also announced the launch of a new carbon reporting scheme that will provide information on the carbon emissions arising from each new product the company develops.

"Most companies are focused on the emissions produced by their offices or perhaps their factories, but we have found that this accounts for less than five per cent of the greenhouse gases associated with consumer electronics," he explained.

"We decided to measure the emissions produced at each stage of a product's lifecycle, from production and transportation to consumer use and eventual recycling."

He added that the resulting Product Environmental Reports will be made available on the Apple website, providing customers with "a detailed description of each product's energy efficiency, material composition, packaging and greenhouse gas emissions".

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