back to article Tech giants warp eco standards to greenwash electronics, rake in cash

The makers of high-tech hardware have subverted green manufacturing standards to line their pockets while making their products look more environmentally responsible. A report released last week by Repair.org, an organization that advocates for the right to repair technology products, says electronic device manufacturers …

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  2. jake Silver badge

    Boiling it down ...

    Manufacturing exists to make a profit for the shareholder(s).

    The "green" organizations of the world incessantly whine about technology.

    A smallish repair advocacy group, active in 12 mostly east-coast states, advocates ease of repair of material goods.

    So what else is new? Nothing is going to change until somebody figures out how to pay Capitol Hill more money (preferably in small, unmarked bills) than the various pro-manufacturing lobby groups. If the greens can't do it, I seriously doubt a couple of press releases from repair.org will even make a dent in the problem.

  3. Pompous Git Silver badge
    Flame

    Riding a bike is a sustainable, green, eco-friendly transport option, right? The maximum sustainable speed of a bike rider who "goes real fast" is about 30 km/h. Traffic simulations show that when the average speed for a car normally travelling at 60 km/h drops below 40 km/h, fuel consumption increases significantly, as do emissions of NOx, CO, and HC. Riding really slowly in peak hour traffic gets a nice long queue of traffic backing up behind. All those deluded fools who believe bike riders are saving the planet will pump out more greenhouse gases than you ever could by just driving a car yourself. Just two bike riders riding abreast can be responsible for 50% of 50–100 cars' emissions. Brilliant, isn’t it?

    Yeah, yeah... I'm a bit dyspeptic. Struck by another lycra-clad lout riding on a crowded footpath a couple of weeks ago and just recovering from steroids and oxycodone.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Shirley you mean ...

      ... "neon-clad, un-paid advertising billboard polluting the scenery"?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      " Struck by another lycra-clad lout riding on a crowded footpath "

      So if they were riding on the footpath, how are they causing the pollution of a 100 cars backed up behind them?

      And how the fuck do you ride at 60km/h in a city?

      And yes I get pissed off at cyclists who think laws don't apply to them, the same way I do with car drivers.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Content is key.

        The footpath and the backed up cars are two separate paragraphs, indicating slightly different trains of thought.

        I ride at 60km/h in cities all the time. But then my license has a CA "M1" endorsement.

        Bending driving laws is fine by me ... AS LONG AS bending those laws doesn't affect anybody else sharing the right of way. Once you affect anybody else, you've crossed the line.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Content is key.

          I'm with jake on this one: bending laws is fine if it's in the spirit of not inconveniencing or endangering others. If I'm on a bicycle and there is traffic behind me and no-one on the pavement for thirty yards ahead of me, then yeah, I'll pop into the pavement temporarily to let the road traffic pass.

          Stoking some feud between cyclists and motorists is too narrow, it should be largely a road planning issue.

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        "So if they were riding on the footpath, how are they causing the pollution of a 100 cars backed up behind them?"
        Different locations; different times.

        "And how the fuck do you ride at 60km/h in a city?"
        No need, just ride in the fucking bike lanes provided for the exclusive use of fucking bike riders you fuckwit! I have seen exactly one bike rider doing so. They much prefer to hold up traffic by riding in the lanes that motor vehicle drivers are required to use.

        "And yes I get pissed off at cyclists who think laws don't apply to them, the same way I do with car drivers."
        Not half as pissed off as I'm getting being knocked about. I'm taking X7's advice and will be carrying a walking cane to stick through the spokes of the next fuckwit who comes near enough. Might even save a toddler's arm. It probably hasn't occurred to you that they have a right to use the footpath in safety, not just OAPs.

        I note also that I have never seen a single motor vehicle driver attempting to drive along a crowded footpath. Ever.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          Cyclist here. Lovely wide cycling lane where I live, but unusable since there's up to 50 cars parked in it usually, forcing me to cycle nearly a metre out and block the road for everyone else unfortunately.

          And i'm not so uncaring that i enjoy this as i usually end up moving aside for cars so often that i'm putting myself in danger just so they can beep at me and give me abuse.

          It's almost as though car drivers manufacture the very problems they complain about. They don't like sharing the road, but then park in the cycle lanes and force a bottleneck of traffic.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            "Lovely wide cycling lane where I live, but unusable since there's up to 50 cars parked in it usually, forcing me to cycle nearly a metre out and block the road for everyone else unfortunately."
            Wouldn't work here. Not just a fine for the miscreants, but penalty points as well. It's very easy to lose your licence and the courts very rarely allow a hardship licence.

            The last pedestrian to be killed by a cyclist here was 85 years old and using a pedestrian crossing. The cyclist was found not to be running a red light and therefore got off Scot-free.

            1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              It's a fineable ofence to park in the cycle lane? That cheers me up a bit.

              I'd resorted to reporting the car lot to the council for selling their cars in the cycle lane further up a big hill and putting their advertising signs in the lane too. No idea if anything will come of it.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                "It's a fineable ofence to park in the cycle lane?"

                "Drivers are not permitted to drive in the bicycle lane except for up to 50 metres if about to park (provided parking is permitted adjacent to the bike lane) or if driving a bus, taxi or the like and setting down or picking up passengers (rule 153; 10 penalty points)." IOW you have already committed an offence before you parked and being parked is prima facie evidence that the offence was committed. That's a maximum fine of $AU1,570, enough to purchase the latest ASUS Core i7 Zenbook.

                "I'd resorted to reporting the car lot to the council for selling their cars in the cycle lane further up a big hill and putting their advertising signs in the lane too. No idea if anything will come of it."
                Our local council was sacked and the councillors barred from standing for election for several years. The state appointed manager is doing a much better job, but the salaried staff still have problems knowing whether it's raining or Tuesday. Good luck!

    3. Infernoz Bronze badge
      FAIL

      Pompous Git too right and off-topic.

      A bicycle is very low impact because it uses so little material, is far cheaper to delivery and maintain, needs vastly less total energy for total lifespan, possibly for several decades of life (much longer than most cars), and as a bonus gives the rider exercise, so lowing health costs for other people, including waiting time. And cyclists are far less vulnerable to fuel issues like an empty tank or fuel shortages.

      I find it hard to believe that a motor vehicle is so damned flawed that it can't be driven economically at speeds sensible for residential areas (i.e. to not kill a pedestrian during an accidental collision); if it can't due to to wide gear stepping, get a vehicle with a better gearbox, and if you can't be arsed to step down gear, that's your fail. Two abreast cyclists can easily fit within a fraction of a car footprint, so are much easier to _safely_ overtake.

      Bicycle riders are just as entitled to use the road because they also pay taxes for the roads via general taxation, so STFU with the girly bitching...

      On-topic, corporations are out-of-control and must lose a lot of usurped power, including false person-hood, or better still be abolished and replaced by a fairly designed business vehicle with far less 'rights', and stricter responsibilities and restrictions e.g. a very real legal requirement to do no evil and not lying (including Greenwashing), or risk termination.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        "Bicycle riders are just as entitled to use the road because they also pay taxes for the roads via general taxation, so STFU with the girly bitching..."
        So what's stopping them using the road? Why the fuck do they prefer the footpath where they are a danger to themselves and pedestrians. Hobart City Council has spent huge amounts of ratepayers' money providing bike riders with bike tracks that motor vehicles aren't allowed to use, yet bikers don't seem to want to. They prefer holding up traffic flow for some godforsaken reason. And no, bike riders in Australia do not pay for roads; bikes attract no registration fee unlike motor vehicles.

        "Two abreast cyclists can easily fit within a fraction of a car footprint, so are much easier to _safely_ overtake."
        That's complete and utter bullshit! The law requires the driver of the motor vehicle to approach a bike no closer than 1.5 metres. Two abreast with 1.5 metres between and 1.5 metres to the left of the leftmost rider means the left hand side of the motor vehicle has to be at least 4.5 metres from the left hand edge of the road while overtaking. That is, the vehicle needs to enter the oncoming traffic lane and there are several roads around Hobart where that is insanely dangerous. Taroona Highway for example.

        I thought the topic was greenwashing BTW.

        1. Shady

          This thread is in serious danger

          of reaching Peak Daily Mail

        2. Spanners Silver badge
          Flame

          So what's stopping them using the road?

          The most common thing is self entitled sociopaths seeing how close they can get while passing at 50 MPH.

          The town where I live has a lot of double width pavements with a white line down the middle and a picture of a bicycle on one side and a pedestrian on the other, The last time I was on my bike on one, I got shouted at, even though I was on the correct side. Perhaps I was too far from the road for the idiot car driver to crowd me?

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: So what's stopping them using the road?

            "The most common thing is self entitled sociopaths seeing how close they can get while passing at 50 MPH."
            I used to walk at almost exactly 4 MPH, often for many hours. These days it's more like 1 MPH and that not for very long, but much longer than before my heart implant. Yet bike riders still seem unable to avoid very near misses and the occasional collision.

            It's worth noting that the street signage says no bikes on the footpath between 8 am and 6 pm. First collision was ~ 10 am and the second ~2 pm. I'd say it's the bike riders that appear self-entitled.

    4. JLV Silver badge
      Flame

      Hum, besides being a pretty stupid rant, 60 km/h average speed is a pipe dream for cars in city cores. Where a lot of heavy bicycle commuting takes place. Not only that, but even 60k peaks are above speed limits in many cases.

      Not saying you don't have a point about _some_ obnoxious cyclists going out of their way to hog as much of a lane as possible - totally agree on side-by-side cyclist twats* - but otherwise your post is benighted, stupid and 'tarded.

      Well-thought out bicycle commuting is a boon for both the cyclists and drivers - bicycles take up less space so will congest less than the equivalent amount of km/person carried out by cars. Granted, many cities are yet to find a solution where cyclists don't intrude overmuch on car traffic, but it's still a cheap way to limit pollution, save money and increase people's health. Mixed-use, cycle-car-pedestrian, city planning also avoids the ugly urban sprawls and dead 'burbs so common to North America that forces you to drive to remote pubs for a pint.

      But, hey, no problemo if you like buying a whole new laptop 'cuz you ran out of disk space on your otherwise still-good machine. Me, I'll chalk it up to another case of regulatory capture ;-)

      * I drive and cycle both, as well as walk around a fair bit. Whatever mode I am in, I usually try to show the same courtesy to other modes as I'd prefer to happen to me. Often that means going out of my way to let cars pass me while cycling.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        "besides being a pretty stupid rant, 60 km/h average speed is a pipe dream for cars in city cores. Where a lot of heavy bicycle commuting takes place. Not only that, but even 60k peaks are above speed limits in many cases."
        Nowhere did I state that the cyclists holding up traffic were in the city. This is occurring out of the city limits where the speed limit is 100 km/h.

        "bicycles take up less space so will congest less than the equivalent amount of km/person carried out by cars."
        Quite a lot of road space in Hobart has been allocated for cyclists' use only. This has led to greater congestion of vehicular traffic there being less space for vehicles to travel on. I have seen only one cyclist using the dedicated cycling space. Maybe they do when I'm not in the city, but taxi drivers I talk to say that cyclists prefer to travel in the same space allocated for vehicular traffic. Go figure...

        The cyclists I'm most concerned about are those that struck me while walking along city footpaths. I'm old (66), I walk slowly, I don't have eyes in the back of my head. If that makes me stupid, benighted and 'tarded, so be it. The cyclists concerned were breaking the law, but for whatever reason the police ignore them. They don't have registration plates and so remain unreportable.

        We have had pedestrians die here in Australia after being struck by cyclists. Invariably old people like me. I'm hoping I'm not one of them. Perhaps I need to start taking taxis instead of walking. That will cut down pollution I'm sure.

        "But, hey, no problemo if you like buying a whole new laptop 'cuz you ran out of disk space on your otherwise still-good machine. Me, I'll chalk it up to another case of regulatory capture"
        Where the fuck did that come from? My ASUS Zenbook has nearly 100 GB free same as last year, same as every year since I purchased it. Perhaps you've not heard of external hard drives. I have a 1 TB pocket drive that goes with me everywhere. And why would I purchase another laptop anyway? The Gitling just gave us a Le Novo X1 Carbon. I'm sure that Mrs Git's files will fit nicely on the 128 GB SSD given that she's currently only using a little over half of the 64 GB on her current machine.

        1. JLV Silver badge

          >Where the fuck did that come from?

          Oh, sorry, was the subject of electronic part swapping off topic to your rant? Just like your bicycle rant was off topic to the original article, which dealt with electronic repairs and had nothing whatsoever to do with bicycles?

          I mean, since you seemed to take issue with the article, I assumed you didn't mind if your parts are glued and non-serviceable. That's where "that came from". My bad. Btw, to me, external drives are not necessarily the greatest solution for laptops.

          I suggest, since you seem to think of yourself as a clever chap, that you investigate the distinction between anecdotes and statistically sound data. I have no doubt there are tons of stupid cyclists doing stupid things. With you so far. However, you decided to jump feet first onto a gross generalization from that point on. Again, on an article that had nothing to do with bicycles.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            "Oh, sorry, was the subject of electronic part swapping off topic to your rant? Just like your bicycle rant was off topic to the original article, which dealt with electronic repairs and had nothing whatsoever to do with bicycles?"
            The headline of the OP contains the word "greenwash" as I commented earlier. This is El Reg and despite ever so many commentards like yourself appointing themselves as comment police, it remains what it is. FWIW, my comments in this thread garnered 50 upvotes and 42 downvotes and I'm more than happy to concur with the majority.

            "I assumed you didn't mind if your parts are glued and non-serviceable. That's where "that came from". My bad. Btw, to me, external drives are not necessarily the greatest solution for laptops."

            You can assume anything you want to, but that won't make it so. And I never said that external drives were a great solution for laptops. I merely pointed out that my possessing an external drive that contains a backup of all my data and all my software works for me. The Gitling's work machine has an SSD and an HDD and I believe both are replaceable, so such machines must still be available for them that needs 'em.

            "I suggest, since you seem to think of yourself as a clever chap, that you investigate the distinction between anecdotes and statistically sound data. I have no doubt there are tons of stupid cyclists doing stupid things. With you so far. However, you decided to jump feet first onto a gross generalization from that point on."
            AFAICT the traffic simulations that show when the average speed for a car normally travelling at 60 km/h drops below 40 km/h, fuel consumption increases significantly, as do emissions of NOx, CO, and HC are statistically sound. Logically, you wouldn't optimise the vehicle's IC motor for very low speeds, but the speeds the vehicle would usually be travelling at, presumably 80–100 km/h.

            From there I infer that bicycle riders who hold up traffic such that motor vehicle speed drops significantly are therefore adding the extra NOx, CO, and HC. This is not statistical, it's logical inference. There are cyclists who do this, but I did not address the issue statistically. Frankly I have no idea of the number or percentage of cyclists who set about deliberately angrifying car drivers, nor do I understand regular cycle riders who condone this behaviour.

            A Monash U researcher discovered that 63% of cyclists in Victoria happily obey the rules of the road. The remaining 37% regularly disobey the road rules, mainly in regard to traffic lights. The majority of the rule-breakers claim it's safer to run a red light rather than wait for the green light. This rather obviously puts pedestrians crossing the road at some increased risk, and has led to several fatalities here in the Land called Under, mostly elderly though that may be mere coincidence. I suspect however that it has much to do with our reduced physical abilities. Further, a Melbourne U researcher monitored students leaving the uni car park and discovered that 25% had no lights.

            So I concur that the majority of cyclists obey the rules, but I wouldn't be too complacent about the minority. It's a big enough minority to have all cyclists perceived to be evil since them who aren't are less noticeable.

            Edit:

            Another thing that angrifies drivers is that they have to pay motor vehicle registration. This is used to fund road maintenance and to pay compensation to motor accident victims' medical expenses. Cyclists pay no registration so those who are the victims of cyclists' bad behaviour are paid no compensation.

        2. Roland6 Silver badge
          Pint

          Quite a lot of road space in Hobart has been allocated for cyclists' use only. This has led to greater congestion of vehicular traffic there being less space for vehicles to travel on.

          Perhaps it hasn't occurred to you, that one of purposes of reducing the allocation of road space to car drivers is to encourage said drivers to switch to cycling...

          Mind you the best incentive I've witnessed to get cars out of cities must have been the summer when petrol was scarce (tanker driver strike) - it was wonderful being able to cross roads and walk up roads in central London - just had to watch out for the occassional taxi and bike rickshaw...

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            "Perhaps it hasn't occurred to you, that one of purposes of reducing the allocation of road space to car drivers is to encourage said drivers to switch to cycling..."
            Indeed it has and it remains the number one reason for the popularity of the idea. Unfortunately, there are flies in the ointment.

            Much of Hobart is steep and hilly. Very picturesque, and in places quite thrilling to ride into the city. The trip back home in the evening would be long and slow. That was certainly the case when I walked to and from back in the early 1970s. The walk home was three times as long as the walk to work.

            Then there's Hobart's rather excellent public transport system. For example, for busy links such as the University and City, there are buses every 20 minutes during the day. And there's not just one link, there are two; one from each end of the campus.

            The third problem is the weather. There's a saying in Tasmania that if you don't like the weather, you just have to wait five minutes. There are few other places in Australia that experience such rapid changes and high winds. Tasmania's latitude is known to seafarers as the Roaring Forties for good reason.

            Melbourne has seen, I believe, an increase in bike commuting to a level of 25%. But Melbourne is flat. Expecting similar in a district with quite different terrain and weather patterns is merely wishful thinking.

            FWIW The Gitling cycles to and from work, but he's close and there's no slope to overcome. Few Hobartians are so lucky.

          2. jake Silver badge

            Other side of the coin.

            "Perhaps it hasn't occurred to you, that one of purposes of reducing the allocation of road space to car drivers is to encourage said drivers to switch to cycling..."

            ODFO, there's a good chap.

            Remember back when the bicyclistotards wanted equal treatment on the roads, despite F=MA suggesting the logical fallacy of the concept? Slippery slope and all that ...now the holy-than-thou fuckheads are trying to crowd out the very autos that paid for the roads in the first place!

  4. David Roberts Silver badge
    FAIL

    TL;DR

    The certification scheme is meaningless.

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: TL;DR

      CEO response: "Trebles all round!"

      Every time some corporate scumbag fiddles his way around a regulation designed tor reduce pollution, to benefit his bottom line, I think "This arsehole is trying to kill me." He's not necessarily a sociopath. He thinks he's doing the right thing for his company (not to mention his career), but he doesn't realise -- or perhaps doesn't care, or dismisses it as something he can't do anything about -- that the cumulative effect of his actions, and the actions of everyone like him, is making the world a worse place to live in. He thinks he'll escape the worst of it, because he'll have the money to isolate himself and his family from most of the consequences. He's just perpetuating the vicious circle instead of trying to break it, and wilfully undermining those who are trying to do so.

      We'd all like shinier, more affordable, toys to play with, but we're adults and can recognise that paying an extra (£|$|€)10 for something is worth it if it reduces the impact of manufacture on the environment we all depend upon to live. When I was a kid I loved Frosties, and would have happily have eaten them for every meal, but it didn't take me long to realise that my mum was right to not let me do so. The people who are selfishly acting against the intent of legislation designed to make the world a more survivable place need to face jail time to ram the message home.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: TL;DR

      Fair summary. For those who want more detail but still can't be bothered to read the entire article...

      "its product verification committee had determined that products were upgradeable if they had an externally accessible port "

      ...tells you everything you need to know about the mental prowess of the oxygen thieves who designed the scheme.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Repair != Green

    Just because you can repair something, does not make it green to do so.

    For example, you replace the battery. If you just chuck the old one into landfill, not exactly green.

    Has the replacement battery from Dodgy Dave's Emporium been produced in a factory with zero environmental standards?

    Have those other parts been made in some back street factory where they just lob the failures and left overs into the nearest river or onto a bonfire?

    Is that old device actually using so much power, it would be more eco friendly to actually just replace it (old servers spring to mind).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Repair != Green

      For example, you replace the battery. If you just chuck the old one into landfill, not exactly green.

      Why do you think that? The minerals for the battery came out of the ground, in that case they've gone back into the ground. In a US or European context, landfill sites are heavily controlled by a whole range of of environmental regulators, where's the problem? Its been a very long time since landfill was simply a hole in the ground - now there's leachate prevention requirements involving membranes and non-permeable lining, gas collection systems for methane and other gases.

      There's a common, but simplistic idea that recycling is always the right answer. It can be, but equally there's materials that are not rare, that are more expensive and polluting to collect and recycle than produce from high grade natural resources, and often have limited demand for the poor quality recycled product.

      1. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Repair != Green

        "There's a common, but simplistic idea that recycling is always the right answer"
        I've been told I don't understand recycling. I'm still using beer and cider bottles acquired in the early 1980s. But that's not recycling apparently. One takes them to the tip, smashes them into smithereens in a big steel barrel so they can be sent to Indonesia, get melted down and made into arguably inferior new bottles.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Repair != Green

          There is a distance over which returning beer bottles to the brewery becomes uneconomic - and generally breweries are fewer and farther apart than they used to be. Unbroken empty beer bottles are far bulkier than crushed brown glass. Different breweries use different bottles, so sorting would be required. The issue of reusing vs. recycling of bottles requires careful analysis. The energy cost of creating the glass is greater than that required merely to melt it into new bottles. Even reusing the bottles requires heat to sterilise and clean. If the bottles are not thoroughly cleaned - if some twit has spat their chewing gum into an empty bottle for example - product quality suffers.

          Interestingly, Heneiken in the 1930s experimented with square bottles for export to developing countries, bottles which could be used as building bricks.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Repair != Green

            "There is a distance over which returning beer bottles to the brewery becomes uneconomic"
            The brewery is less than 20 metres from where the beer is consumed in wintertime and less than 30 metres from where it's consumed in the summertime. If anybody is stupid enough to spit chewing gum into one of my beer bottles they won't be drinking any of my beer or wine again!

          2. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Repair != Green

            "Interestingly, Heneiken in the 1930s experimented with square bottles for export to developing countries, bottles which could be used as building bricks."
            I have several books of interesting houses built out of recycled re-purposed materials. One has a description and pictures of a house built entirely out of empty embalming fluid bottles built by an undertaker. It was a very large house so it would appear that undertaking can be quite lucrative.

        2. strum Silver badge

          Re: Repair != Green

          >But that's not recycling apparently.

          No. It isn't. It's re-using.

          You only need to recycle when you can no longer re-use.

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Repair != Green

            "No. It isn't. It's re-using.

            You only need to recycle when you can no longer re-use."

            Oh dear... So whenever I've referred to composting as recycling in ever so many magazine articles and my books, I was completely wrong! I should have written "re-using". How can I live with myself? Decades of my life wasted promoting a sham!

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Repair != Green

        In a US or European context, landfill sites are heavily controlled by a whole range of of environmental regulators, where's the problem?

        Maybe running out of landfill space?

        Maybe it's alright in the US, you've a much larger area that is much less populated - there's always room in the desert next to whatever ET cartridges that are still buried.

        Landfill can't be used for certain things for a good number of years after it's been closed for dumping - no matter the leachate prevention requirements - would you really want your new home or childs school built on one - or on a nuclear waste dumping ground 'casue 'hey, the prevention requirements are top-notch, so what can go wrong'??

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Repair != Green

          Maybe running out of landfill space?

          All of the millions of tonnes of minerals used in infrastructure maintenance and construction are dug out of the ground, so there's no shortage of holes to fill, other than in places where they either don't mine the aggregates, or where they fill with water like the Netherlands. There's some minor local landfill shortages (eg South East of England), but even there there's another option, landrise. Which is where you keep on filling a landfill vertically, until you have a small hill. No different to the spoil heaps left by mining, except that these new ones are to much tighter environmental standards. A good example is the Packington landfill near Birmingham airport. That;s gone from a gravel pit to a 250 foot hill. Soon it'll be grassed over, and be returned to nature or leisure use, whilst still producing methane for power generation for the ext couple of decades as the site is now closed other than for the reinstatement.

          would you really want your new home or childs school built on one - or on a nuclear waste dumping ground

          No, but that's a weak and spurious argument. The total land area of landfills and nuclear waste sites is trivial compared to the UK land mass. Plenty of other land to build on.

      3. Justthefacts

        Re: Repair != Green

        "There's materials.....that are more expensive and polluting to collect and recycle than produce from high grade natural resources".

        Yes, all of them.

        Otherwise, companies would be cold-calling you to see if *they* could pay *you* to come round and collect your recycling. What sort of incompetent capitalist would pay loggers to cut trees in Indonesia if it actually cost them less resources to collect the paper from willing householders?

        This isn't to say that recycling is futile. Mostly it is, sometimes it isn't. For example, dumping a NiCd battery in the bin is seriously bad karma in pollution terms. Recycling glass bottles, however, is sheer environmental vandalism. But *ask a real engineer* which it is. Don't listen to pop stars and pressure groups.

        1. Pompous Git Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Repair != Green

          "Recycling glass bottles, however, is sheer environmental vandalism. But *ask a real engineer* which it is. Don't listen to pop stars and pressure groups."
          Or academics with no experience of the real world! Have an upvote and -------------------------->

        2. imanidiot Silver badge

          Re: Repair != Green

          " Recycling glass bottles, however, is sheer environmental vandalism."

          Real engineer here. Recycling glass bottles is actually better for the environment than producing new glass. Smelting glass is SERIOUSLY energy intensive. It's a long and involved process and requires very clean ingredients which in turn also cost a lot of energy to produce. (It's not just dumping a load of beach sand into a furnace). Glass barely degrades from being recycled though achieving the needed color can be a bit tricky. Clear glass is pretty much always new, as it's nearly impossible to keep contaminants out of recycled glass and the slightest shard of tinted glass will give a tinted hue to an entire batch.

          Aluminium is another product that is highly recyclable.

          Batteries (any variety) are actually far less gainful to recycle than bulk materials like glass or metals.

    2. Ian Cognito

      Re: Repair != Green

      Has the replacement battery from Dodgy Dave's Emporium been produced in a factory with zero environmental standards?

      Maybe the only reason people are buying replacements from Dodgy Dave is because there are no official replacements available. Nothing to do with the companies wanting you to buy a new device when the battery predictably fails of course (probably just outside the warranty period), despite everything else still being fully serviceable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Repair != Green

        Nothing to do with the companies wanting you to buy a new device when the battery predictably fails of course (probably just outside the warranty period), despite everything else still being fully serviceable.

        That horse has long since left the stable, since the makers behaviour suggests that every person on the planet wants a unibody phone with a fixed battery. Even the likes of Samsung, LG and Motorola are succumbing to the fashion for sealed in batteries in almost all models. At the highest end, that may be a necessity, since those buyers are fashion/tech conscious, price insensitive, and like the modest benefits of (claimed) waterproofing, and a more rigid handset. But look how the sealed battery is percolating down to the mid-price. The latest Sammy J5 "upgrade" is a sealed battery, the newly announced Moto G5S is a sealed battery, etc.

        I certainly accept that most buyers don't care, and are happy with a throwaway device. But there's a good minority that do care, and the extent to which removeable batteries are now as rare as hen's teeth shows that the makers are producing what suits them, rather than addressing the sizeable niche who want to buy a phone and keep it for four years or so. With model-on-model technology progress slowing down, there's fewer reasons to upgrade, and the only way that phone demand will hold up is if people are forced to upgrade - and that's the key driver for non-removeable batteries.

      2. Pompous Git Silver badge

        Re: Repair != Green

        "Maybe the only reason people are buying replacements from Dodgy Dave is because there are no official replacements available."
        Not forgetting price. My Nikon camera batteries are $AU140 each in Australia, plus an unspecified stocking fee when I got a quote. I purchased two for $10US post-paid from the US.

        1. Tannin

          Re: Repair != Green

          $10 camera batteries are cheap, nasty and dangerous.

          The $140 Nikon-branded ones will last far longer, and won't damage your equipment. Or catch fire.

          The actual cost to manufacture the $140 ones is about $60 (that's including all taxes, distribution costs, and a reasonable profit margin for your retailer). Nikon are greedy barstards. (Similar comments apply to most (all?) of the other majors.)

          But Nikon don't make those $140 batteries themselves, they buy them in from a reputable third-party manufacturer. So you don't have to pay the $140 Nikon tax, you just have to find a decent third-party vendor (this is the hard part) selling the identical part (no, no, no, not the $10 knock-off, the same part or better from a decent battery maker) and spend the $60 (this is the easy part).

          1. Pompous Git Silver badge

            Re: Repair != Green

            "$10 camera batteries are cheap, nasty and dangerous.

            The $140 Nikon-branded ones will last far longer, and won't damage your equipment. Or catch fire."

            Actually $US10 for two, post-paid. It's true that they don't last as long. The Nikon-branded batteries that I purchased at the same time as the camera lasted twice as long. I'm now into a second pair of $US10 for two.

            Only one of the six batteries has overheated on the charger and it was one of the Nikons, not one of the "cheap, nasty, dangerous" ones.

            The choice here is binary. Purchase the Nikons or cheap and nasty through fleabay or at least it was when the originals died. There was no middle way. The cheap and nasty ones are also 1100 mAh, rather than 800 mAh so don't need recharging as often.

            It's worth noting that for the cost two Nikon batteries I can purchase a replacement Nikon camera that is far better specced. The idea of chucking a camera that cost me ~$AU2,400 onto the tip when it still works fine is anathema to me.

            When I purchased a second, similar camera because I'd foolishly left the Nikon at home, it was a Kodak that takes standard AA batteries, rather than proprietary batteries. The lens is inferior and it doesn't do macro...

            1. Tannin

              Re: Repair != Green

              The choice is not binary, you just have to look harder. You CAN buy good quality third-party batteries for most products, but you have to hunt them down.

              And the alternative is not good. Just a day or two ago, a woman here in Victoria was put into hospital by a cheap third-party battery when it exploded. Luckily, neighbours were able to put the fire out before her house burned down.

              Moral of the story: don't buy cheap no-name Chinese batteries.

              1. Pompous Git Silver badge

                Re: Repair != Green

                "The choice is not binary, you just have to look harder. You CAN buy good quality third-party batteries for most products, but you have to hunt them down.

                ....

                Moral of the story: don't buy cheap no-name Chinese batteries."

                I didn't say they were no-name. They are branded Insten and Made in China. The original Nikon batteries were also Made in China. When I first needed to replace my batteries there were no alternatives. Not in Australia according to the several battery suppliers I approached. Many suppliers overseas will not ship to Australia. The "cheap no-name" batteries on fleabay were twice the price of Insten, or more.

      3. Fihart

        Re: Repair != Green @Ian Cognito

        I recently needed a replacement battery for a Samsung Galaxy S4. Samsung's site does recommend a UK supplier but that vendor didn't have the battery I needed. Those it had seemed rather expensive.

        Amazon had dozens of (apparently) Samsung batteries at a wide range of prices. But user reviews suggested that many were fakes that performed badly or failed soon after purchase. One vendor's reviews seemed to suggest that it was a fraudulent operation, failing to deliver merchandise and using credit card numbers to steal further funds.

        In the end I bought a battery from a vendor with good reviews, even though the battery brand was unknown to me.

        Much the same story when I needed a battery for a Lumix camera -- thankfully, the long established German photo accessory brand Hama sells a fairly full range of camera batteries with a long warranty.

        I guess big manufacturers don't care enough to police the fakes and would prefer we replaced the device rather than just the battery.

    3. Golgafrinch

      Re: Repair != Green

      @Lost all faith...:

      Repair != Replace

      Your battery example is ill-chosen.

    4. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Repair != Green

      "For example, you replace the battery. If you just chuck the old one into landfill, not exactly green."

      You seem to have missed the rather important point - the alternative is throw the entire thing, including the battery, into said landfill. Making phone's repairable is certainly not the answer to all our environmental problems, but it's a hell of a lot better than being forced to throw the whole thing out every time a single part fails.

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: Repair != Green

        >better than being forced to throw the whole thing out every time a single part fails

        Amen. A lot of common sense "green" activities can save $$$. Something that might be missed due to justified skepticism about "Designer Greens" or "Red Greens" that seem to want to either mandate very expensive stuff, subsidize the heck out of it (at others' expense) or just regulate it out of existence to suit their own hairshirt lifestyles.

        More repairable electronics are mostly a win-win-lose. Win for you, win for the environment, (slight) loss for the manufacturer and miniaturization.

  6. Dave 126 Silver badge

    "The EPEAT system evaluates products on a lifecycle basis, addressing their design for recycling, elimination of toxic substances, use of recycled and recyclable materials, product longevity, energy efficiency, corporate performance and packaging, among other attributes."

    Of which, repairability is just one attribute. It doesn't matter how durable and fixable a phone is if it has some irritating quirk that frustrates the user*. Sooner or later they might throw it at a wall, or just buy a different model.

    *As the product category matures, these quirks tend to become less common. Still, I'm sure you all can name your favourite (?!) examples!

  7. jMcPhee

    Software is as bad

    Yes it's bad that hardware manufacturers don't honor green commitments. Shame on them. However, let's not forget software houses who increasingly bloat code, craptify operating environments, and abandon hardware support. Without them, old hardware wouldn't need disposal as often.

    And shame on consumers who aggravate the problems by dumping perfectly good hardware so they can have the next trendy thing. Looking at you, smart phone dumpers.

  8. MJI Silver badge

    Green laws can make it worse.

    Notably the leaded solder ban.

    How many things have you bought since leaded solder was banned which would have not failed if leaded solder was used?

    (Lots of X360/PS3 owners put their hands up).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Green laws can make it worse.

      Don't forget restrictions on synthetic pesticides, which have enabled malaria to remain needlessly endemic for fifty more years, and in Europe resulted in the promotion of nicotinoid pesticides that appear to be worse for the environment...

  9. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    "The report suggests the standards process demands a lot of time, which discourages participation from non-industry stakeholders in academia and in advocacy organizations."

    I think you'll find that the process demands a lot of time in order to discourage participation by non-industry stakeholders. In fact, the process can probably be prolonged until all the non-industry participants have lost the will to live and then the industry gets to write whatever they want and they can even boast afterwards about the range of people who contributed "at various stages".

  10. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge

    Standard sizes

    I bought my handheld VHF marine* radio precisely because it has six rechargeable AA batteries rather than a proprietary battery pack. Maybe the answer is to create a standard size for flat L-ion batteries that could be slotted into any phone.

    *Raymarine

    1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Standard sizes

      Standardized battery packs could happen but it's technologically tricky. There are a few different lithium battery chemistries and a few different mechanical designs for each of them. That means different voltages, different self-discharge rates, different current capacities, and charging processes. Right now, batteries have a simple protection circuit that's good for disconnecting severe momentary faults (over-voltage, under-voltage, over-current). The battery still explodes with long-term misuse. Standardized battery packs would need their own DC-DC inverter and charge controller to provide a normalized interface. DC-DC inverters are rather pricey things and you'd be throwing one out each time you replace the battery. Alternately, you could put a cheap ROM on a universal battery and hope every device applies the usage parameters correctly enough to not explode.

      This is why open specifications are usually easier. Manufacturers list the battery requirements and third parties build them when devices reach the age of needing repairs.

      1. Fihart

        Re: Standard sizes @Kevin McMurtrie

        I take your point(s) but as most phones are very similar devices (viz: the common chipsets used) if a standard set of batteries was created, manufacturers could design new phones around those specs.

        Even if specs evolved over time, it would make replacement a lot simpler and cheaper -- if not quite as simple as buying torch batteries in a supermarket.

  11. whoseyourdaddy

    shaking my head...

    Seriously?

    I don't want a device from Cupertino that can upgrade its memory or replace its battery, or easily swap out a borked LCD for an un-borked display...

    Why, you ask?

    For one, it won't be waterproof if it was. Wouldn't be as thin if it was.

    Shopping mall repair kiosks would pop up like Uber-recruiters after an ample supply of stolen parts suddenly becomes available after thousands of owners are held at gunpoint during a robbery.

    Can't fix it or reconfigure it without factory training and the right equipment?

    Problem fucking solved.

    We use lead-free solder on *everything* because we can't get leaded parts anymore.

    If you don't understand why, I can't be bothered to explain it to you.

    1. Pompous Git Silver badge

      Re: shaking my head...

      "We use lead-free solder on *everything* because we can't get leaded parts anymore."
      Try here:

      Resin Core 60% Tin / 40% Lead

  12. Nick Pettefar

    Ramble On

    I thought they used heat to melt the glue and therefore make it very easy to disassemble the parts for recycling. Apple also have a robot for disassembling. It's just hard for us to do if we want to replace parts inside. They always want us to buy new anyway... Thankfully it is fairly easy to change the batteries on iPhones. But, why does my iPhone 6 run so slowly nowadays compared to my iPhone SE? Also my Mac Mini (2.53GHz CPU) is really slow. I am almost certain that Apple deliberately cause older models to run slowly so that the newer models appear to run much faster and make you glad you spent all that money replacing your perfectly good hardware. Grumble mumble moan.......

    1. Fihart

      Re: Ramble On @Nick Pettefar

      "why does my iPhone 6 run so slowly nowadays compared to my iPhone SE? Also my Mac Mini (2.53GHz CPU) is really slow. I am almost certain that Apple deliberately cause older models to run slowly so that the newer models appear to run much faster"

      Two issues here: 1) upgrading the OS will often slow a device, especially if the OS has been designed for later models with faster hardware. 2) OS will slow under weight of your added content/apps and build up of redundant files.

      Solution is to wipe everything (having backed up personal stuff) and reload original operating system.

    2. JLV Silver badge

      Re: Ramble On

      Dunno if that is applicable in your case, but maxxing up the RAM and swapping for an SSD can do wonders for an older Mac. Some Macs have higher possible RAM than officially supported by Apple, but you can still get RAM from reputable vendors like Crucial or Corsair that are specifically OKed for your device. An MBP 2011 for example is certified at 2x4GB but you can get 2x8GBs matching your original SKU. I fried my Samsung SSD after about 18 months and I suspect that wasn't helped by constant heavy swap file use while at 8GB RAM.

      That MBP 2011 is not much slower than the new, no upgrade, $$$, MBPs while doing Webpack compiles. I know because I returned my newer MBP because I didn't like it much (sucky keyboard).

  13. Pompous Git Silver badge

    Overtaking cyclists

    "Two abreast cyclists can easily fit within a fraction of a car footprint, so are much easier to _safely_ overtake."
    Friend came by yesterday to help me as I recover from being struck by a cyclist. He told me that the other week there was the usual dozen cyclists on the Cygnet road, two abreast and the pairs spaced to ensure they couldn't be safely overtaken. They had managed to build a very long tail of motorists when a hairy biker on a Harley overtook them all. When he drew level with the lead cyclists he smacked the nearest on the ear and told him to get the fuck on the shoulder or he'd give him and his mates a good kicking. Gave me a laugh, especially as I know the guy who got slapped; he's a complete and utter cunt! :-)

  14. Joe Gurman

    With all due respect....

    ....for the planet-friendly, consumer-friendly, and just generally nice people at iFixIt and other repair.org members, (1) they are money-making organizations, too, just not on the scale of a Samsung or an Apple, and (2) using a .org address for their trade organization is a bit misleading.

    Apple, as reported here, appears to have a policy of "recycling" kit turned back to it for store credit by reducing it to individual electronic components, re-using what (if anything) is reusable, salvaging solder, &c. from PCBs, and mincing the rest. Their stated reason for doing so is to deny the unauthorized repair (read: pirate otherwise bricked, stolen phones) business the parts stream. I don't know how effective that is, between offshore recyclers who can probably make more dosh by selling on the parts instead of reducing them to dust and Chinese jobbers who manufacture knockoff parts.

    Is manufacturers' insistence on authorized repair shops such a bad thing? I'm having a hard time determining where the needle comes to rest on my ethics-o-meter.

  15. CarriePalmer

    I was not shocked to see the news, "The tech industry uses its outsized influence to combat environmental product standards" (https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/3/16087628/apple-e-waste-environmental-standards-ieee-right-to-repair). It was on expected lines. It is very prevalent with big names in the industry.

    Now how do they manipulate to rake in sales? Apple and such big tech companies keep their devices hard to repair.

    Are we not accountable for protecting our environment?

    Now, Apple remains the largest company on earth by market cap, by selling brand new smartphones month after month. Apple manipulates by design, keeping neutral standards bodies from implementing environmentally friendly measures, thus reduce device longevity which increases the number of units manufactured.

    We normal users are also to be blamed. Check this article which says the average cell phone user replaces their unit every 18 months (https://www.junk-works.ca/locations/blog/2017/07/07/e-waste-facts-everybody-should-know/).

    Such vicious plans hamper the efforts of people who have dedicated their lives to educating people to reduce waste and implement the 3R principle.

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