Apple, Sony Ericsson Demonstrate Best Practices in Green Electronics

Seven companies have engineered environmental solutions that negate
the need for most–or in some cases all–uses of brominated and
chlorinated chemicals in consumer electronics, according to a new report. 

The environmental organizations, ChemSec and Clean Production Action, said the following companies are leading the electronics industry by moving away from chemicals that can lead to health and environmental problems:

  • Apple (US) (Nasdaq: APL) – Apple established an innovative program that restricts the
    use of nearly all bromine and chlorine compounds across all their
    product lines. As such, Apple now offers a wide range of PVC- and BFR-free consumer products including iPhones and iPods, as well as
    computers that are free of BFRs and most uses of PVC.
  • Sony Ericsson (UK) – Sony Ericsson is not only removing substances of
    concern from their products, but also taking on the complicated task of
    establishing full chemical inventories for all their product lines. The
    company’s products are now 99.9% BFR-free and will have no PVC
    components by the end of 2009.
  • Seagate (US) (Nasdaq: STX) – The largest disk drive manufacturer in the world is now
    creating new disk drives that no longer use chlorine- and bromine-based
    chemistries. This success was largely facilitated by the company’s full
    material disclosure system.
  • DSM Engineering Plastics (Netherlands) – This major plastic material
    manufacturer is among the first to offer a complete portfolio of
    engineering plastics that are free of bromine and chlorine. They
    developed and produced a new high temperature polyamide 4T polymer with
    bromine free grades for connectors and sockets as well as a
    thermoplastic co-polyester that can be used as a replacement for
    PVC-based wire and cables.
  • Nan Ya (Taiwan) and Indium (US) – Nan Ya, a major laminate
    manufacturer, and Indium, a high-end manufacturer of solder paste and
    flux, both overcame major technical challenges to produce bromine- and
    chlorine-free components for printed circuit boards that met the same
    reliability standards of their halogenated counter parts.
  • Silicon Storage Technology, Inc. (US) (Nasdaq: SSTI) – This semiconductor manufacturer
    was the first in the industry to supply Apple and others with
    bromine-free chips.

“These seven companies demonstrate that there are less toxic and still cost effective alternatives to substances of high concern that do not compromise performance or reliability,” said CPA Project Director Alexandra McPherson. “They are well positioned to gain competitive advantage in a marketplace and regulatory environment increasingly sensitive to the use of toxic chemicals in consumer products.”

High volume uses of bromine and chlorine in flame retardant and plastic resin applications such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) gained worldwide attention when scientific studies demonstrated their link to the formation of highly toxic dioxin compounds. Dioxin, a potent human carcinogen that is toxic in very low amounts, along with other problematic compounds, are unintentionally released into the environment during the burning and smelting of electronic waste. 

The current recycling and waste infrastructure to safely reuse and recycle obsolete equipment is insufficient for the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Furthermore, much of the waste is increasingly shipped to developing countries with even less capacity for appropriate waste management. Many studies document the accumulation of these widespread pollutants in air, water, soil, and sediment, where they are increasingly ingested by humans and animals.

“This report provides critical guidance for those companies who have yet to make this material transition,” said Nardono Nimpuno, Senior Policy Advisor at ChemSec. “Reduction of bromine and chlorine is a critical demonstration of environmental leadership on toxic use reduction within the broader sustainability lens of improving the full life cycle impacts of products.”

“Greening Consumer Electronics: Moving Away from Bromine and Chlorine” can be downloaded at the link below. 

The green computing market is set to quadruple by 2013 according to a separate report published this week.

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Comments on “Apple, Sony Ericsson Demonstrate Best Practices in Green Electronics”

  1. Dandye

    Interesting answers. The most comomn chlorine is sodium hypochlorite in powder form and you will find that many bleaches are made from sodium hyplochlorite. If you check the active ingredient on the bleach bottle and contains only this chemical then you can use it. First check the concentration of the active ingredient as normal pool chlorine is around 65% active and bleach would probably be less as it is diluted. Chlorine anyway is highly caustic with a pH of around 11. If you do use it leave the pump off and the bleach/chlorine will dissipate over time any way. I used to work in a swimmimg pool shop.


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