Steve Jobs outlines plans for 'A Greener Apple'

In an open letter posted to the company’s Web site on Wednesday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs outlined plans to remove toxic chemicals from its products, making “A Greener Apple.”

Apple has been criticized by environmental group Greenpeace over the past year for not doing enough in removing toxic chemicals. While Greenpeace ranks Apple in last place of all technology companies the organization ranks, Jobs said that after investigating “Apple is ahead of, or will soon be ahead of, most of its competitors in these areas.”

One of the ways Jobs said the company would accomplish its goal is by eliminating mercury in its displays. To do this, Apple will introduce its first Macs with LED backlight technology in 2007. Jobs said that Apple’s ability to completely eliminate fluorescent lamps in all of our displays depends on how fast the LCD industry can transition to LED backlighting for larger displays.

Currently Apple operates recycling programs in countries where more than 82 percent of all Macs and iPods are sold, increasing to 93 percent by the end of this year, according to Jobs. Apple also said that all of the e-waste collected in North America is processed in the U.S., and nothing is shipped overseas for disposal.

Apple is currently close to being on par with Dell and HP on its recycling programs, before this new plan is put into place.

Jobs also said that the producers must look at the materials they are using. Unlike most of the competitors, Apple uses aircraft-grade aluminum, stainless steel and high-grade plastics that are in high demand from recyclers.

Apple will be expanding its iPod take back program to include all stores worldwide this summer. The new program will also include free shipping from anywhere in the U.S. — no product purchases are required for any of the free take back programs, although Apple does offer a 10 percent discount on a new iPod when they bring their old iPod to the stores for proper disposal.

Jobs outlined plans to eliminate or reduce the use of other chemicals including Arsenic, Mercury, PVC, Brominated flame retardants and others.

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