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Greenpeace Knocks HP's Environmental Record

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on July 28, 2009

Is Hewlett-Packard dragging its feet on helping clean up the environment?

Protesters from Greenpeace think so. Several scaled walls at the company’s Palo Alto (Calif.) corporate headquarters early July 21, then painted the words “Hazardous Products” in large letters on the roof. They say the world’s largest computer manufacturer has welshed on a pledge to stop using two toxic chemicals in their products by this year.

HP said recently it’s had trouble finding alternatives to two materials - polyvinyl chloride and brominated flame retardants - that are used in the manufacture of some equipment. It pledged to phase them out by 2011 instead. But Greenpeace noted rivals such as Apple, Dell and Lenovo have already removed or significantly reduced use of the chemicals in their products.

An HP spokesman says the company is the leader in cleaning up electronic waste, having recycled one billion pounds of electronic products from 1987-2007. “The unconstructive antics at HP’s headquarters today did nothing to advance the goals that all who care about the environment share,” the company said in a statement issued late in the day.

HP also offered more details on its timetable for removing the chemicals. By fall 2010, the company says, all new business-oriented PCs will be free of the chemicals. By the end of 2011, that will extend to its entire pc lineup.

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Reader Comments

daniel watson

July 28, 2009 09:48 PM

HP is a reasonable company, while Green Peace is not. it is just putting up another show to justify funding...

Doesn't make sense

July 29, 2009 05:53 AM

Using hazardous chemicals in a product unnecessarily is not reasonable.


July 29, 2009 03:12 PM

Wonder what kind of paint they used. Not all paints are environmentally friendly. Now, wouldn't that be a kick if they used spray paint?


August 4, 2009 10:31 PM

I'm not surprised HP is getting flack for their lack of environmental responsibility. I just ordered an HP laptop (prior to Greenpeace's actions) and requested an LED display to avoid Mercury use. There's a sticker on the bottom warning about Mercury in the lamps, which LED displays would not have. It looks like HP not only reneged on their promises, but is greenwashing and tricking people into getting "LED" displays that aren't really LED. Either that or they put Mercury stickers on every laptop and their tech support doesn't know when Mercury is or isn't used.


August 5, 2009 02:42 PM

They used non-toxic children's finger paints...

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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