In a move designed to address criticism of Apple’s use of toxic chemicals and other measures that are harmful to the environment, the company has launched a new environmental website. The new website allows Apple customers, environmental organizations, and other businesses to view a full life cycle analysis of the company’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Our life cycle analysis accounts for all emissions associated with our products. That includes raw material extraction, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, a three- or four-year period of use, and recycling. In the course of this analysis, we determined that less than 5 percent of our emissions come from our worldwide facilities.” Source: Apple

What this breaks down to is that the vast majority of Apple’s contributions to greenhouse gas emissions comes from its product line. This Macbook that I’m using right now to write this article, the iPhone that I use on a daily basis, and the iPod that helps keep my kids entertained are all major contributors to Apple’s carbon footprint.

The company’s new website, Apple and the Environment, shows the greenhouse gas emissions breakdown on the front page: 38 percent from manufacturing, 5 percent from transportation, 53 percent from product use, 1 percent from recycling, and 3 percent from facilities.

What I find interesting is that the figures used to determine the company’s greenhouse gas emissions use a four-year period of use for Mac computer systems and three years for an iPhone or an iPod. I don’t know if I am the typical portable electronic user but I’m on my second iPhone and I upgrade my computer or laptop about once every two years. So now my contribution to Apple’s numbers are going to be higher than the averages used.

Apple included a timeline of how their product line has both compacted in size and has taken on more eco-friendly measures over the past several years. In 2006, Macbook Pros were lead-free. As of 2008, the computers are lead-, BFR-, PVC-, and mercury-free. Additionally, they use arsenic-free glass.

The company has made great strides over the past several years and the creation of the new environmental website will only help Apple meet their environmental goals.

Photo: gothick_matt

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