Jobs defends Apple’s environmental efforts

At Apple’s annual shareholders meeting Thursday, chief executive Steve Jobs defended his company’s environmental efforts after being questioned about recycling policies.

While activists picketed outside Apple headquarters, Jobs said inside that the company takes its environmental responsibilities seriously and noted that the company accepted more than 1,500 tons of old products in 2004 through its recycling program.

The activists — including one who dressed up as an iPod with the words “My trendy toy turned toxic trash today” — focused on the iPod and the device’s hard-to-replace battery. “Most consumers are just going to throw it away and get a new one,” said Sheila Davis, director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

Jobs said that consumers often throw old batteries away, and pointed out that tens of thousands of iPod owners have already gotten their batteries replaced through Apple’s $99 program and that the company properly disposes of the old ones.

Jobs also admitted that the iPod contains a small amount of lead, but that much more is found in other computer and conusmer electronics products including cathode-ray tube (CRT) monitors.

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