Environmental activists from six states descended yesterday on the Nashville office of Al Gore in an ongoing campaign to convince the former vice president to use his position as an Apple board member to urge the electronics manufacturer to recycle its computers.
The Computer TakeBack Campaign, a national coalition of environmental organizations, turned its attentions to Apple Computer after successfully getting HP and Dell to support producer take-back recycling of toxic discarded products carrying their brand names.
According to the group’s website, Apple electronic wastes contain dangerous toxic chemicals.
“The iLife isn’t quite as harmonious as it seems. Lurking underneath Apple’s beautifully designed digital music players and computers are poisonous chemicals like lead and mercury that can cause birth defects and disabilities. When the millions of Apple’s obsolete computers and other electronic products hit the landfills and incinerators, millions of pounds of toxic lead and other highly toxic materials will be dumped into our air, land, and water.”
Gore has refused previous overtures to open up dialog with Apple from the Computer TakeBack Campaign. Steve Jobs, Apple’s chairman, dismissed concerns over consumer disposal of his company’s products as “bull—-” at a shareholders meeting last April.
Continued pressure by environmental groups – including a shareholder-sponsored resolution to be introduced at this year’s meeting – did force one small change: Apple now offers free recycling for iPods at its stores. But, say the campaigners, that’s not enough.
“Apple should live up to its ethical reputation and take leadership to stop the growing mountain of toxic electronic waste from poisoning our families and communities. It should develop the best recycling system for its used machines and build cleaner and safer electronic products.”
Gore, whose environmental credentials include his ecological manifesto, “Earth in the Balance,” has become the latest target of the campaign against the company whose advertising slogan is “Think Different” (sic).
“Al Gore has been a vocal supporter of environmental issues. We are appealing to Al Gore to use his public profile and credibility on these issues to work with us to move Apple beyond its lagging recycling efforts,” said Robin Schneider, vice chairman of the campaign.
“In June 2005, Apple agreed to start taking back obsolete iPods at Apple Stores, but refuses to make it easy for consumers to recycle other old Apple electronics. Apple continues to oppose e-waste producer take-back recycling legislation across the country, even though they operate producer take-back programs in European and Asian countries. Al Gore can help us turn this around and we hope he will.”
Apple lobbied against legislation in Maine and Massachusetts in 2004 that would have required companies to establish take-back programs.
The Nashville protesters presented a prepaid calling card to representatives at Gore’s office and serenaded them with improvised lyrics to Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Us, Al” in hopes of encouraging Gore to call and begin a dialog.
Gore has previously expressed concern over recycling and the problem of landfills. In “Earth in the Balance,” he favorably cited a scientist who wrote: “In our landfill refuse from decades past we have uncovered corncobs with all their kernels still intact. If microorganisms won’t eat corn-on-the-cob, I doubt whether they will dig cornstarch out of plastics.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, Gore was recently slammed by scientists in the Philippines as a “foreign celebrity” who had “exaggerated” the threat of global warming in a speech he delivered there last month.
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