EPEAT’s CEO Robert Frisbee has posted a written update saying that the organization would carry out “surveillance testing” of certain ultrathin laptops listed on its registry post haste. The investigation will take about four weeks he wrote, provided that unexpected delays did not crop up. The laptop line in question, though he doesn’t mention it, is Apple’s MacBook Pro Retina display line, which landed on the registry soon after Apple rejoined EPEAT last week after dropping out a few days earlier.
Just before the Apple product line went back up at the registry, tear downs site iFixIt had pointed out that there were design issues in the Apple laptop that were in conflict with the EPEAT standards. In particular, iFixIt head Kyle Weins wrote, the glue holding in the battery was unusually strong, likely making it difficult for anyone other than Apple to likely be able to replace a burnt out battery. It would also make recycling the device difficult. This raised the question of how Apple product line, including its newest members, had made it into the EPEAT Gold certified lists..
It seems EPEAT is addressing those ambiguities directly, with Frisbee writing that EPEAT’s public report will disclose “the general compatibility of adhesive use with the 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 criteria,” those last two criteria being: “Easy disassembly of external enclosure” and “Identification and removal of components containing
hazardous materials,” respectively, and the very thing iFixIt was concerned about.
Frisbee explained to Fast Company on Friday that EPEAT’s protocol allowed Apple and other manufacturers to carry out a self-assessment and place products on the registry before EPEAT had a chance to test the products themselves. In fact, EPEAT doesn’t inspect every product that lands on the list–it has a method of selecting and testing a sampling of products across lines. In Apple’s case, because questions had arisen about the inclusion of Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina display, he told us it was likely the organization would look into that specifically. He now seems to have confirmed that in print.
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