From iPod to iWaste :: Apple battery policy rotten to the core?
Environmentalists Protest Apple's 'IWaste'
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 13, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Apple Computer Corp. has become the darling of the
technology sector for its wildly popular digital music player. But scorching
iPod sales have also made it the target of an aggressive environmental
coalition, which is trashing Apple as rotten to the core.
Environmentalists with the Computer TakeBack Campaign are planning a
yearlong campaign to protest Apple's lackluster recycling efforts. Despite
drizzle on Tuesday at the annual Macworld Conference & Expo, activists
passed out leaflets and erected a giant banner proclaiming, ``from iPod to
The advocacy group, which last year badgered Dell Inc. until it
significantly bolstered its recycling initiatives, plans protests at Apple's
Cupertino, Calif., headquarters throughout 2005, a letter-writing and e-mail
campaign, and other attacks against the maker of Macintosh computers.
Environmentalists said they're targeting Apple because the hardware and
software company makes it difficult to replace batteries in its digital
music players, and it charges many consumers $30 to recycle their unused or
broken computers and laptops.
``We know consumers won't pay 30 bucks to get rid of something they think is
junk,'' said Robin Schneider, executive director of the Austin, Texas-based
Texas Campaign for the Environment.
``Apple can do a lot better -- they're lagging way behind Dell and
Hewlett-Packard. ``Now they need to take the next step and really 'think
different,''' Schneider said, playing off Apple's advertising slogan.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said Tuesday the company would not comment on
the environmental crusade. On Thursday, Apple promised to join eBay Inc. and
Intel Corp., which launched an informational Web site to help motivate
Americans to resell, donate or recycle used gadgets.
Apple doesn't charge consumers to recycle outdated electronics in Japan,
Europe, Taiwan and South Korea, but environmentalists say the company is a
significant contributor to the growing problem of ``e-waste'' in the United
U.S. consumers retire or replace roughly 133,000 personal computers per day,
according to research firm Gartner Inc. According to a study commissioned by
San Jose, Calif.-based Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, roughly half of all
U.S. households have working but unused consumer electronics products.
Roughly 400 million gizmos will be thrown out by 2010.
Protesters said the popularity of the iPod and iPod Mini -- as well as more
affordable gadgets such as the $99 iPod Shuffle, which debuted Tuesday --
make Apple an obvious target for environmentalists' scorn.
Apple sold 4.5 million iPods in the fourth quarter and more than 10 million
since their debut in 2001. During the 2004 holiday season, three of the top
five consumer electronics sold on Amazon.com were Apple products.
The falling price and diminutive size of iPods -- including the Shuffle,
which weighs less than an ounce and is smaller than a pack of gum --
promotes the notion that they're disposable, said Mamta Khanna, program
manager for Oakland, Calif.-based Center for Environmental Health.
``People think you can just trash these things,'' Khanna said. ``No one's
thinking about where they end up.''
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General inquiries may be sent to
CAROL TREVELYAN STRATEGY GROUP (CTSG)
P.O. Box 10009
Eugene, Oregon 97440
Media inquiries should be directed to:
Ted Smith - Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition,
Robin Schneider - Texas Campaign for the Environment;
or media@ computertakeback.com.