So Apple has once again managed to get the world all excited about some fancy new device...though I don't think anyone's quite certain exactly why this is so cool. In essence, Apple will be carving their new MacBooks out of one solid block of aluminum, certainly not as green as some of the bamboo cases we've seen. The advantages, they say, are unsurpassed style and ultra-light weight. But I'm only concerned about one thing...is this thing going to save the earth...or destroy it?
Well, it turns out it's a little of both. The new process slices the computer case out of a 2.5 lb brick of highly processed aluminum. At the end of the process, there's a 0.5 lb case. So, right off the bat, Apple is creating a block of metal with a huge amount of embodied energy (from the mine through the final milling process) and the vast majority of it is just going into the recycling bin to be re-melted and re-processed. Green? I think not.
The current Macbook cases (I'm typing on one right now) are simple, hard, white plastic. They're just as durable, and take far less energy to produce than a 2.5 lb brick of highly milled aluminum. I'm not sure what the advantage here is, but it's certainly not sustainability.
The other concern with Apple's gadgets is that they can sometimes be extremely difficult to repair. Aluminum-cased iPods sometimes can't even be repaired without scrapping the case entirely. Obviously that would be a big environmental no-no for Apple - to have to scrap a case every time an internal repair was needed.
But on other fronts, the new Macbooks are chock full of green cred. Their rated EPeat Gold, a measure of environmental friendliness of computers, something only a handful of other computers boast. They contain no mercury, no BFRs, no lead, and the LCD screens are backlit by highly efficient LEDs. They may even be just as green as the Macbook Air.
I'm glad to see Apple focusing on the efficiency of their computers, not to mention decreasing the amount of toxic materials they contain. But this new carved-brick process isn't green, it's wasteful, and I'm happy to be sticking with my good-ol' plastic clunker.
written by Andy, October 15, 2008
written by davidm., October 15, 2008
written by czf, October 15, 2008
written by sarah11918, October 15, 2008
written by Taylor, October 15, 2008
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