Acer Earns Greenpeace's Kudos with Toxics-Free Laptops

Acer Earns Greenpeace's Kudos with Toxics-Free Laptops

Taiwanese computer maker Acer last week unveiled two new laptops that have earned the company some praise from Greenpeace, even while the company falls short of its environmental goals.

The Acer Aspire 3811TZ and Aspire 3811TZG laptop models are made without the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), both of which pose considerable risks to humans and the environment.

According to Greenpeace, PVC pollutes throughout its production, use and disposal, and is "the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics, and can form dioxin, a known carcinogen, when burned." BFRs, similarly, are persistent toxic substances that accumulate in humans and animals pose health risks.

In addition to eliminating PVC and BFRs from these two laptops (though not from the power cables of the machines), Acer has also designed the machines for energy efficiency, meeting the Energy Star 5.0 guidelines and using, according to the company, using 40 percent less energy than standard laptops.

Despite these improvements, Acer has yet to meet its own goal of completely eliminating eliminating PVC, BFRs and plastic softeners known as phthalates from all of its products by 2009. And in the latest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, Acer landed in 12th place out of 18 companies, with a score of just 4.5.

According to the New York Times, Acer said in a statement that it is working toward achieving its goal of PVC- and BFR-free electronics, but it has not yet set a new target date for achieving that goal.