Greenpeace action targets HP over ‘Hazardous Products’

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Indie rock band Greenpeace has a problem with HP, specifically its broken promises vis–à-vis toxic chemicals in its products. The band’s frontman, Casey Harrell, says that “HP continues to put hazardous products on the market despite promises made years ago to phase out these toxic compounds.” So, to get back at HP, Greenpeace members “climbed to the top of HP’s global headquarters and painted the message ‘Hazardous Products’ in big, bold letters on the roof.”

I couldn’t find a photo of the protest, so we’ll have to make due with the artist’s rendering:

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It comes down to this: HP said a few years ago that it would eliminate harmful products, including brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics, from its products. (When burned, PVCs release a known carcinogen into the air.) Well, it’s 2009 (and well into 2009 at that) and these products are still in HP’s products.

Apparently Greenpeace set it up so that William Shatner called HP employees to remind them about HP’s awful behavior.

We’ve contacted HP to see what they have to say about all this. Still no word from it, though.

And for those keeping score at home, Apple is not on Greenpeace’s blacklist.

Update Here’s a photo of how it actually looked, even though we’re still waiting on HP for a comment.

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Update 2 And finally, some nine hours after this story first broke, we present HP’s official statement on the matter.

For decades HP has been a leader in environmental responsibility and has adopted practices in product development, operations and supply chain that are transparent and help to reduce its environmental impact. HP has a comprehensive approach to environmental sustainability, with three main components: minimizing our impact; helping our customers to improve their environmental performance; and driving towards a sustainable, low-carbon economy.

This commitment includes reducing the use of BFR/PVC in our products until these materials are eliminated entirely. HP has introduced several new computing products this year that use less BFR/PVC than previous generations. This September HP will release a BFR/PVC free notebook. By fall 2010 all new commercial PC products released will be BFR/PVC free. By the end of 2011 all new PC products released will be free of BFR/PVCs.

The unconstructive antics at HP’s headquarters today did nothing to advance the goals that all who care about the environment share. HP will continue its efforts to develop new products and programs around the globe that help the company, its business partners and customers conserve energy, reduce materials use and reduce waste through responsible reuse and recycling. HP supports industry efforts to eliminate BFR and PVC because of potential e-waste issues. HP is a worldwide leader in e-waste recycling. HP has recycled one billion pounds of electronic products from 1987-2007 and has committed to recycling another billion pounds between 2008-2011.

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