IT companies still dragging feet on removal of toxic substances


IT companies still dragging feet on removal of toxic substances

Rebecca Thomson

Technology companies are still delaying the removal of toxic chemicals from their computers, says Greenpeace.

Microsoft, Lenovo, Fujitsu and Dell all continued their low scores on Greenpeace's latest quarterly electronics guide, which rates companies according to their environmental performance.

Apple, Sony Ericsson and Nokia are the best performing companies, with products free of hazardous materials, better recycling policies and lower energy use.

Greenpeace is trying to persuade IT manufacturers to remove toxic substances such as PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardents (BFRs) from their products because of the damage caused to the environment and people's health when the products are disposed of in countries including Ghana and India. The charity also wants legislation banning the use of the chemicals in the manufacture of IT.

But many technology companies are delaying the removal of the substances. HP is the only big-name company to take steps to eradicate the chemicals, with the recent launch of a PVC and BFR-free PC and notebook series.

Lenovo backtracked on its commitment to remove the chemicals from its products by the end of 2009, delaying the removal indefinitely. Microsoft has failed to support legislation on the issue.

Greenpeace says companies need to publically support bans on the chemicals during the revision of the EU's Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics Directive.

Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International Electronics campaigner, said, "Sony Ericsson and Apple are already calling on EU institutions to support such a ban. Other big players like HP, Dell, who have remained silent so far, and Acer need to ensure the ban is passed in the European Union parliament."

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