Lenovo, HP, Dell and Lenovo have admitted they cannot remove BFRs and PVC from their products by the end of 2009, but promise to meet the commitment soon
Computer makers Dell and HP have responded to claims from Greenpeace that they have reneged on commitments to ban use of toxic BFR and PVC by the end of this year. Both will remove the chemicals – but not this year.
In the latest update to the campaigner’s Guide to Greener Electronics, released this week, Greenpeace said Dell and HP have failed to meet promises over vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
Although there are still around 8 months for the companies to meet the 2009 deadline, Dell seems to have withdrawn its timeline for eliminating BFR and PVC, Greenpeace claimed. Although HP still lists a commitment to 2009 on its site. Greenpeace said that it contacted the PC maker and learned that the deadline no longer stands.
Commenting on the Greenpeace claims, Markus Stutz, environmental affairs manager at Dell said that his company shares Greenpeace’s concern, and is commited to producing environmentally friendly technology but said alternatives to some BFR and PVC components are not yet available.
“This commitment is genuine, and we do deliver some BFR/PVC-reduced products today,” he said. “However, as there are no viable alternatives to many of the components used in our products which include these chemicals, we’ve adjusted our timetable for eliminating them accordingly.”
For its part HP claimed to have eliminated BFRs from most of its products, but said that finding replacements for these compounds that meet performance and safety standards would take time.
“Due to the lack of acceptable alternatives in necessary volumes, HP will not be able to deliver all new computing products launched in 2009 that are 100 percent BFR/PVC free,” the company said in statement. “However, HP will introduce several new computing products this year that use less BFR/PVC than previous generations. Furthermore, we will continue reducing the use of BFR/PVC in our products as quickly as possible until these materials are eliminated entirely.”
HP says it is examining the use of non-BFR material for printed circuit boards. According to Greenpeace, alternatives to BFRs do exist and are already being used by some companies. “Several major companies are already using alternatives or alternative designs. Different casing materials used in the Sony Vaio and Apple Macbook Air have reduced the need for BFR’s,” Greenpeace states.
HP still uses PVC in power cords but claims alternatives are being developed but must meet “stringent safety and mechanical requirements”.
Greenpeace claims that PVC could and should be phased out by all manufacturers. “PVC is not necessary in electronics. Indeed, a number of companies have already phased it out of a wide range of their products and committed to a total phase-out,” the campaigning group claims.
PC Maker Lenovo was also singled by Greenpeace. The company promised to ban use of BFRs and PVC by 2009 but has now moved its deadline to 2010.