How the new MacBook Pros got EPEAT Gold rating

Apple's recent relationship with the EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) environmental rating is getting even more interesting. First, we reported on Apple dropping its entire product line from the program upon realizing that the new Retina display MacBook Pro models wouldn't get the coveted Gold rating due to their almost-impossible-to-recycle glued-in batteries. Then retiring Apple VP Bob Mansfield kissed and made up with the group later in the week. Now we're finding that Apple gave the MacBook Pro with Retina display the EPEAT Gold rating ... although it doesn't merit it.

Fortune's Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports that Apple put all eligible products back on the Green Electronic Council's registry, thus clearing the way for purchases by schools and governments that are required to purchase EPEAT-approved computers. However, Apple also added the Gold label to all four models of the new MacBook Pro with Retina display.

Almost immediately, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition took offense with what had happened. Barbara Kyle, the National Coordinator for the ETBC said "We seriously doubt that these MacBooks should qualify for EPEAT at any level because we think they flunk two required criteria in the 'Design for End of Life' section of the standard."

Those criteria include, which states that "External enclosures shall be easily removable by one person alone with commonly available tools" and, regarding "Identification and removal of components containing hazardous materials." Basically, Apple just gave itself the rating against the EPEAT criteria. An EPEAT review has not yet happened, and the group could require Apple to remove the Gold label from the MacBook Pro models in question.

Elmer-DeWitt also commented on the timing of Apple's withdrawal from EPEAT, noting that the AAPL Sanity board (membership required) pointed out that the annual fee for getting on the registry and fees for all listed products -- which can be in the millions of dollars -- came due on July 1.

[via The Loop]