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Apple reports carbon emissions, touts green hardware

Apple this week launched a new section of its Web site devoted to promoting the company's energy efficient machines and environmentally friendly manufacturing techniques.

The new feature, entitled Apple and the Environment, provides information on how the Mac maker has made efforts to eliminate toxic substances from its machines, and also worked to make its hardware highly recyclable.

Years ago, the company was targeted by Greenpeace over the use of toxic chemicals in its products. In 2006, Apple was given a 2.7 out of 10 rating in being environmentally friendly. Since then, the hardware manufacturer has made a clear effort to improve its image within the environmentally conscious community.

"With a complete life cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, Apple sets a new standard of full environmental disclosure," the company said in a press release. "We’re the only company in our industry that considers the environmental footprint of every product we make. And we’re the only company to add up all our greenhouse gas emissions and tell you how they are distributed across — and beyond — a product’s lifespan."

In 2007, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs unveiled a timetable for the removal of toxic chemicals from the company's products. The new Web site is a means for Apple to tout the progress it has made since then. The page also marks the first time the company will disclose its carbon emissions, according to BusinessWeek.

"Apple's real goal is to change the terms of the debate," the report said. "Company executives say that most existing green rankings are flawed in several respects. They count the promises companies make about green plans rather than actual achievements. And most focus on the environmental impact of a company's operations, but exclude that of its products."

Apple officials reportedly said that the use of Apple products by consumers accounts for more than half of the company's annual 10.2 million tons of carbon emissions. The environmental Web site states that less than 5 percent of the company's emissions come from manufacturing facilities, while more than 95 percent of Apple's greenhouse gases are from the products they make.

"A lot of companies publish how green their building is, but it doesn't matter if you're shipping millions of power-hungry products with toxic chemicals in them," Jobs told BusinessWeek. "It's like asking a cigarette company how green their office is."

The new Web site also pushes Apple's recycling program, where users can learn how to send in their old iPod, iPhone or Mac. Users of handheld devices can fill out a form with their name and address and will be provided a prepaid mailer, while Mac owners can recycle their old system for free with the purchase of any new system in an Apple Store.