A “Green” Apple leaves a sour taste for accessories

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If you live in the U.S., you’ve probably seen the latest Apple ad spot on television by now. The company is touting the new unibody MacBook as "green" for the environmentally conscious. I’m in that group myself with a hybrid car, a solar-powered attic fan and as a fanatic about recycling. No scrap of paper in our home is safe from the recycling bin, not even the puny little ATM and purchase reciepts I get at WaWa. We’re getting ready to start composting in the near future as well.

From my perspective then, it’s nice to see Apple’s green take on the new MacBook. That’s why I was flabbergasted to see my Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter today packaged in a box that’s at least as big as the one my MacBook came in.

You can see from the top and side views that the cardboard packaging is nearly identical to the pretty box that contained my MacBook, power adapter, DVDs and documentation. Plus there was plastic in there to neatly organize and hold all of that.

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By contrast, the plain cardboard box I received today contained the Mini DisplayPort adapter, a packing slip and two plastic airbags to cushion my accessory. And one of the two was punctured, but that’s just nitpicking. The fact is: there’s no need for Apple, or any company for that matter, to ship a roughly five-inch adapter cable in a box that could fit a full thirteen-inch notebook and associated bits. "Green" advertising aside, this is simply sad, if not hypocritical.

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Think I’m too sensitive on this issue? Perhaps. But don’t just look at my words, take those of Apple’s direct from their web-page touting their commitment to the environment:

"The new MacBook packaging is up to 41 percent smaller than the previousgeneration. And smaller boxes are much better for the planet. Becausesmaller boxes mean we can fit more boxes on each shipping pallet — upto 25 percent more. Which means more products will fit on each boat andplane. Which means fewer boats and planes are used, resulting in fewerCO2 emissions. It’s just one seemingly minor change. But it has a majorpositive impact on our environment."

That’s great for the MacBook. Not so much for Apple-branded accessories purchased through the Apple on-line store. You’d think that Apple would have learned this lesson when they shipped those small Phone 3G power adapters in packaging as big as a brick. And just for the record: I’ll be using the Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter with an Energy Star LCD monitor.

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