The new Apple laptops - are they green?

Apple recently released their new line of MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops, which are mainly made from aluminium. They say that they are their greenest latops ever and claims that they are "highly recyclable and even more energy efficient", and that they are "designed with the environment in mind".

But really, how green are the new laptops?

Greenpeace, who is running a hard and successful campaign for greener electronics, says that the new laptops are "not quite the breakthrough" they "were hoping for":

"A check of the full specs revealed the MacBook Pro, MacBook and MacBook Air - as well as the LED Cinema Display will now have internal cables free of PVC and will have internal components containing no BFRs. Not quite the breakthrough we were hoping for. These new MacBooks are currently on a similar level of toxics reduction to the Sony Viao laptop series on PVC, and the Lenovo Think Vision in monitors. The BFR free internal components represent an improvement from the bar set by the Vaio line."

Hank Green, over at EcoGeek, is a bit more negative saying the new laptops are "wasteful":

"I'm glad to see Apple focusing on the efficiency of their computers, not to mention decreasing the amount of toxic materials they contain. But this new carved-brick process isn't green, it's wasteful, and I'm happy to be sticking with my good-ol' plastic clunker."

Jaymi Heimbuch, from TreeHugger, on the other hand is a bit more positive:

"It seems that this process allows the MacBook Pro to use 50% fewer parts. In the manufacturing stage, they start with a 2.5 pound piece of aluminum. The end structure is only 0.5 pounds (for the MacBook Air). That means that 2 pounds of aluminum is cut away.

Nevertheless, it looks like this process, despite flaws, has some real improvements for the notebook in the big picture of its lifetime and total footprint."

Apple explains how green their MacBook and MacBook Pro are on their website.


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Simon Leufstedt
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Guest Matt D.

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I think Hank Green seems like he's being a little too negative. Of course keeping your old computer is always going to be the greener solution, but compared to other laptops on the market there really isn't a lot out that that can beat this new Apple.

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Treehugger posted an update with more info on Apple's manufacturing process. You should read it.

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I saw a green PC for small, medium and large businesses as well as home users. The PC device uses only 5 watts of power and the actual OS runs on solar power. They say they are coming out with laptops that run on the service as well. You can check it out at http://www.agreenpc.com

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Guest Computer Support

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At first glance, I would simply say that this is a great story to raise awareness, however I am still a strong believer that going green, should be the normal way of doing things and not done simply for publicity. The fact that Apple has voluntarily chosen to go green is great news but I am sure there must be many people who don’t even care about sustainability; design seems to be the big seller.

The question here is what features or points make Apple eco-friendly? I believe the power saving feature actually works in Macs and are enabled by default; Mac goes to sleep if not in use, also a desktop Mac. This is not the case with Desktop Computers (Linux or Windows) which therefore can’t produce their advocacy for green environment.

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Guest stephanie

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Mr. Green, what do you think happens to the 2 pounds of cut away aluminum? It gets recycled! You act like they throw it in the landfill.

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Guest stephanie

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Mr. Green, what do you think happens to the 2 pounds of cut away aluminum? It gets recycled! You act like they throw it in the landfill.

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Guest Cathren Bin

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Laptops are becoming preferable to desktops because they use far less energy right from the start. Plus, the portability makes them a great companion on the go. But there are ways to make even Laptops less of a burden on the Earth, from materials to longer life spans, from packaging to energy efficiency. We've gathered up some of the most eco-friendly laptops around so you can quickly narrow down your options when purchasing.

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The new Apple laptops are definitely the most environmental friendly laptops I've seen on the market. Made entirely of aluminum, which is recyclable, they use up less energy than most other computers; and it being a laptop makes it all around more green than any Desktop. I don't think there's any question about it. Apple laptops are green.

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