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Greenpeace Says Hewlett-Packard Means Hazardous Products

A Greenpeace action in the US today exposed Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) continuing contribution to the toxic electronic waste crisis. The peaceful protest is in response to HP backtracking on its commitments to phase out toxic chemicals from its products by the end of this year.

In California, USA, employees at the computer giant’s global headquarters were greeted with the message ‘HP = Hazardous Products’, painted on the roof in large yellow letters and automated phone calls from actor William Shatner, calling upon the company to phase out the toxic chemicals. This protest follows similar demonstrations against HP at its offices in China and Holland highlighting the continued presence of toxic chemicals in HP products.

Earlier this year, HP postponed its 2007 commitment to phase out dangerous substances such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic from their computer products (excluding their server and printer lines) from 2009 to 2011.

“It’s shameful that HP is continuing to put hazardous products on the market, despite the promises it had made,” said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner. “Instead of going back on its commitments, HP should be following the lead of companies like Apple, which has led the sector in phasing out these toxic chemicals.”

Apple’s new computer lines, virtually free of PVC and completely BFR-free, demonstrate the technical feasibility and supply-chain readiness of producing alternatives to these hazardous substances. HP’s competitors, Dell, Lenovo and Acer have also stayed ahead of HP, putting models on the market that are free of, or at least significantly reduced in their use of, PVC and BFRs. HP now stands 14th on the quarterly Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, having been penalised in the previous edition for backtracking on its PVC/BFR phase out.

“Greenpeace will continue to expose those companies who fail to implement their environmentally responsible commitments,” said Harrell. “As the number one seller of PCs worldwide, HP has both the responsibility and the ability to provide environmental responsibility and leadership.”

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