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How green are the new MacBooks?

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REUTERS/Kimberly White

(Read caption) Steve Jobs introduces the new MacBook and MacBook Pro laptops at a news conference in Cupertino, California, October 14.

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Having eliminated many toxic chemicals, boosted energy efficiency, and improved recyclability, Apple says that its new MacBooks are the greenest ever.

Apple's new line of laptops, which made their debut at Tuesday morning's press conference at the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, are "designed with the environment in mind," according to their website.

Unlike earlier models, the displays of the new MacBooks and MacBook Pros contain no arsenic or mercury. The computers innards – the circuit boards, cables, and connectors –  contain no brominated flame retardants. And the cables contain no PVCs. (They don't say anything about beryllium, cadmium, and antimony – poisonous metals that are common in many electronics.)

What's more, Apple claims that the new laptops – being mostly glass and aluminum – are "almost entirely recyclable." Apple claims to offer recycling services in "nearly all countries" where it does business.

Apple says that their laptops' LED displays consume 30 percent less power than conventional LCD screens, enough to earn them EnergyStar certification.

The company has also cut back on the laptops' packaging, now using about 40 percent less than the previous generation. This cuts down on paper and "means Apple can use fewer planes to transport the same number of products" (of course it would be greener to ship them via boat and rail, but then we wouldn't be seeing them in stores this week.)

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