Retina MacBook Pro’s Gold-Level EPEAT Rating Might Not Last

Yesterday, we updated you on a interesting development in Apple-EPEAT story that 40 Apple products are now listed on EPEAT’s registry including the Retina MacBook Pro which initially did not make it to that list. However, a new publication by Fortune claims that Retina MacBook Pro could soon lose its Gold-level EPEAT ratings because “the notebooks flunk two key tests”.

(Photo via iFixit.com)

The report points out that EPEAT only gave Apple’s non-Retina MacBook Pros a Gold label, indicating they are okay for purchase by agencies that are required to buy only EPEAT-approved computers. However, Apple also gave Gold labels to its new MacBook Pro models with Retina display, whose batteries are affixed to their aluminum frames with industrial strength glue so powerful that the disassembly experts at iFixit couldn’t remove them without “leaking hazardous goo all over.”

Detailing from the source:

The Electronics TakeBack Coalition — a pro-recycling group whose members range from the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition to the Environmental Defense Fund — was quick to spot the sleight of hand.

“We seriously doubt that these Mac Books should qualify for EPEAT at any level,” wrote Barbara Kyle, the ETBC’s National Coordinator, on the organization’s website, “because we think they flunk two required criteria in the ‘Design for End of Life’ section of the standard. They are:

  • Criterion 4.3.1.3: External enclosures shall be easily removable by one person alone with commonly available tools.
    While you can open up the enclosure, you can’t completely remove one half of the casing from the large group of batteries. They are glued to the case with industrial strength glue.
  •  Criterion 4.3.1.5 Identification and removal of components containing hazardous materials. 
    This criteria specifically applies to batteries, as well as circuit boards over 10 cm2 and other components, and says they must be safely and easily removable. Gluing the battery in does not quality as ‘easily removable.’ In fact, it’s exactly the kind of design that this standard seeks to discourage.”

It is now likely that when EPEAT conducts a review of its grading, it may ask Apple to remove the MacBook Pro with Retina display from the registry if it is not found to conform to the IEEE standard.

“Technology runs through my veins...” | Follow me: @DrUsmanQ usman@iPhoneinCanada.ca

  • mrideas

    Perhaps the real reason they decided to leave EPEAT. They knew their newest product didn’t meet all the requirements?

  • I think that there is no real reason of making battery unremovable. Battery needs to be easily replaceable as well as hdd/ssd, RAM, and if it’s possible GPU. I do not like the way apple started making you go to the store in order to fix your iDevice. According to this, looks like even Apple specialist could not replace a battery. So that means in case when your battery is defected, they have to give you a new Pro

  • Gerry

    This explains my .70 cents recycling fee when I ordered mine.

  • Rio

    That is exactly it but to be fair EPEAT’s way of rating things has long been outdated. If they rated cell phones and tablets, none of them would pass.

    They need to consider the newer tech.

  • Rio

    If they made everything removable the specs would drop a lot, especially battery life. Take a look at some of the videos of how these things are put together.

    Apple doesnt build it just because they dont want you to fix it yourself.

  • I do not get it. Why would specs drop? Glues does not have anything to do with specs

  • Haha! How do you like it for now? I have air but I am not sure should I buy retina?

  • Screws and extra components needed to attach the battery would leave less room for battery, meaning the battery would need to be smaller and the battery life specs would drop. Glue is the most space-saving way to secure a battery to the notebook, leaving the maximum amount of space to actually have the battery.

  • Glue is cool but it does not have to be that strong that ordinary user cannot remove. 3GS’s battery was glued too but I was able to remove it.

  • I like how pll “care” about environment.

  • Good point. I think their idea in this case (no pun intended) is that they don’t expect anyone but an Apple-approved technician to be opening up these computers anyways. There’s nothing really user-serviceable inside. The RAM is soldered in, the memory is on a proprietary chip design, and the batteries have been “non-replaceable” since they went to the unibody design (there’s a sticker across my battery telling me that I can’t remove it, it has to be done by an approved technician).

    I assume that Apple-approved techs have some way of getting the battery out in a safe way. Maybe they made it difficult on purpose because they found that ordinary users were still replacing them and they specifically didn’t want that.

  • i agree. I am glad that ssd is replaceable. I am planing to buy one of these soon and my plan is to go with base model but 16gb RAM since I am a student and I get $200 off. 🙂

  • Well, the SSD technically looks replaceable, but on a proprietary chip design, so there won’t be anything available to replace it with right away. I’d guess eventually someone will start making upgrade chips, but it won’t be as simple as going out and buying a 2.5″ SSD drive and dumping that in, you’ll have to special-order them I’m sure. Even at that, there’s no guarantee they’ll exist.

    With the soldered RAM, I’m glad that Apple has dropped the RAM upgrade pricing down so that it at least doesn’t break the bank to max out the RAM.

  • True. OWC should make some. They made SSD for Air. But like you said, it will take a while. 🙂