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Absurd Anti-Apple Attitude

From San Francisco Chronicle online

Old Apples causes harm

[At] Apple's Macworld Conference & Expo at the Moscone Center . . . a handful of picketers gathered outside around a pile of old Apple computers.
On the monitors of some of the computers were images of Asian children and adults picking through equipment in dumps of toxic electronic waste containing lead, mercury and brominated flame retardants.
The pictures of the children in the e-waste, which couldn't be identified by brand [my emphasis], were displayed in front of the convention center . . .
"We don't think its acceptable to dump toxic electronics waste on developing countries and we don't want it dumped here at home either," said Gopal Dayaneni, a spokesman for the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, which sponsored the demonstration. Several environmental organizations are engaged in a nationwide campaign to protest what they say are Apple's irresponsible environmental practices, particularly what they claim is the company's failure to ensure that its products are disposed of properly.


Demonstrating concern
Environmentalists picket at Macworld over Apple policies

Birgitta Forsberg, Chronicle Staff Writer



While hundreds of visitors moved in and out of Apple's Macworld Conference & Expo at the Moscone Center on Tuesday, a handful of picketers gathered outside around a pile of old Apple computers.

On the monitors of some of the computers were images of Asian children and adults picking through equipment in dumps of toxic electronic waste containing lead, mercury and brominated flame retardants.

The pictures of the children in the e-waste, which couldn't be identified by brand, were displayed in front of the convention center where Apple had strung up "Life is random" banners to promote its latest iPod music player.

"We don't think its acceptable to dump toxic electronics waste on developing countries and we don't want it dumped here at home either," said Gopal Dayaneni, a spokesman for the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, which sponsored the demonstration. Several environmental organizations are engaged in a nationwide campaign to protest what they say are Apple's irresponsible environmental practices, particularly what they claim is the company's failure to ensure that its products are disposed of properly. On Tuesday, they took advantage of the crowds attending Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs' annual speech to publicize their cause.

Protesters said rival computer-makers make it easier for consumers to recycle old equipment.

"Dell and HP are at the front end when it comes to taking back consumers' old computers" said Mamta Khanna, program manager at the Center for Environmental Health. "Dell and HP are supporting responsible legislation, while Apple has been directly opposing legislation in Maine and Minnesota."

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment, referring questions to the company's Web site, where the company says it supports proper disposal of old equipment and is committed to compliance with environmental laws around the world. Last week Apple was named one of 13 sponsors of a recycling awareness campaign led by eBay and Intel.

There are 300 million old computers in U.S. homes, containing more than a billion pounds of lead and millions of pounds of mercury and cadmium, according to Ted Smith, founder of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition. Lead and mercury can cause birth defects and disabilities, and pollute the land, air and water.

Most electronic waste in the United States ends up in landfills or is shipped overseas. Since Jan. 1, California retailers have been required by law to charge recycling fees on the purchase of monitors, displays and laptops.

"E-waste is the fastest growing part of the human waste stream," Dayaneni said. "People dump thousands and thousands of computers every day, and we want Apple to provide a consistent and free take-back policy for Mac consumers. We know that when brand manufacturers have to deal with the end product they are going to make a cleaner product in the first place. There's economic incentive for green design."

Apple offers its U.S. customers a fee-based computer recycling program. But it handles junked goods for free in Europe, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, where it is forced to do so by law.

"If Apple can do it in Europe, Japan and South Korea, why can't they do it here?" Khanna said. "If Apple is so cutting-edge in technology, why are they not cutting-edge in environmental practices in the United States?"

E-mail Birgitta Forsberg at bforsberg@sfchronicle.com.
URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/01/12/RECYCLE.TMP
©2005 San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
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