Apple admits mistake, gets back on green tech registry

A week after Apple pulled its products from the Environmental Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, the tech and gadget giant announced today that it’s back on the global registry for greener electronics.

Bob Mansfield, Apple senior VP of hardware engineering, writes in an open letter to customers, “We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.”

It also didn’t hurt that the City of San Francisco told CIO Journal that it would no longer be purchasing Apple desktops and laptops for government business. The number of Apple computers comprise a small percentage of San Fran’s business, only 1 to 2 percent, or just over $45,000, compared to the City’s overall $3.8 million budget on desktops and laptops for 2010, as reported by CIO. But the move was considered a symbolic blow to Apple from our crunchy neighbor to the south.

Apple withdrew from the EPEAT last week without explanation, but Mashable speculates that it’s “likely because the design of new products such as the iPad and Macbook with Retina display makes them much harder to disassemble.” EPEAT standards require that computers have the capability to be disassembled and repaired to avoid more e-waste from going straight into landfills.

In the letter, Apple contends that it’s been dedicated to greener standards all along: “It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever. Apple makes the most environmentally responsible products in our industry. In fact, our engineering teams have worked incredibly hard over the years to make our products even more environmentally friendly, and much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT.”

What do you think of Apple’s environmental standards? Are they as green as they could — and should — be?

(Via Mashable and CNET)