Apple iPad Touts Environmental Cred

Apple's newest gadget has a number of green features.

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Apple's game-changing iPad, unveiled today, has both techies and green bloggers starry-eyed - the latter because the company is keeping it green for the new touch-screen device.

Here are some of the green features for the iPad: It's BPR-free, PVC-free, has arsenic-free display glass, a mercury-free LCD display, and a glass and aluminum enclosure that is highly recyclable. That gives the device relatively the same eco-cred as the MacBook Air. The device will also feature a 10-hour battery life, and more than a month of standby battery capacity, meaning it will hold charge after long periods of inactivity.

So far, so good. But Martin LaMonica of CNET rightfully points out that these measures only go so far - the rest is up to users. New product launches put techies on an Sisyphean quest for the newest gadget, but that means a constant cycle of replacing still-working technology. And what happens to those old netbooks that will be discarded in favor of an iPad? Chances are, they won't be recycled properly, and will sit in a drawer or box somewhere for a decade before ending up in a landfill.  There, they'll leach toxic chemicals into groundwater. Though the iPad may contain fewer harmful chemicals, the device's longevity matters: the more often it has to be replaced, the more resources it will consume.

The iPad's iBooks application puts it in direct competition with e-readers like the Kindle and Nook. E-readers cut down on the amount of resources used in book production, offsetting the gadget's own emissions after one year of use, according to a study by the Cleantech Group. Recycling rates for paper are much higher than they are for electronics, though. But the iPad is more than just an e-reader, so it would presumably displace the purchase of additional mobile gaming, music and video devices, as well as books.

Of course, none of this matters to the most die-hard Apple fans, who are clamoring to get their hands on an iPad, green or not. If you're one of them, and have an old computer that you'll subsequently retire, here's how you can recycle it responsibly - and some earn some cash for it, too.