Join 3,558 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


You Know, For Kids
May 21, 2008 5:37 AM   Subscribe

Playing Dirty: Greenpeace vs Nintendo, Microsoft, et al. "The Greenpeace scientific report Playing Dirty states that video games consoles have tested positive for hazardous chemicals and materials such as polyvinyl chloride, phthalates, beryllium and bromine."

"The use of hazardous chemicals and materials in electronic products is widespread. Despite some recent improvements – a result of a combination of legal restrictions in some parts of the world, and voluntary action by companies – many devices still contain a variety of hazardous substances."
posted by chuckdarwin (31 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Shiva H. Vishnu.

Not content with painting their boats with rainbows, smelling of flowers and stroking squirrels, the eco cognoscenti at Greenpeace have turned their attention to the poor innocents of the console world.

Greenpeace's "Playing Dirty" (do you see what they've done there?) report has laid down the damning criticism on the PS3, Wii and Xbox360 that they "must do better".

It shows that all three platforms tested positive for gnarly sounding chemicals such as aspolyvinyl chloride (PVC), beryllium, bromine indicative of brominated flame-retardants and the impossible to pronounce phthalates, which just sounds like someone with a lisp doing Pilates.


Let's see, we've hit unfunny, anti-intellectual, and South Park Republicanism. A gaming site hat trick! And these guys wonder why gaming remains a dick-waving boyzone for fat nerds in their 20s?
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:43 AM on May 21, 2008 [5 favorites]


We need to make videogaming back into the wholesome, healthy pursuit it was in the time of our grandparents and great-grandparents.
posted by DU at 5:44 AM on May 21, 2008


Are these hazardous substances in a form where they can actually escape from the consoles? Or are they just bound together with other substances?

And have they tested computers this way? Or do they just want to go after a target that a lot of people already hate?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:17 AM on May 21, 2008


There is nothing to say that those consoles weren't contaminated by users. Who knows what those people do when they're not gaming.
posted by three blind mice at 6:19 AM on May 21, 2008


By specifically targeting consoles Greenpeace earns their spot as ascetic killjoys when really they are targeting almost all computer component manufacturing since there is very little difference between the innards of an xbox and a pc.

They barely distinguish components, make misleading statements about how consoles are not considered a children's toy and thus not subject to more stringent regulations (no shit - you don't suck on your console). They also try to make their decision not to thoroughly test all the components sound damning because you know if they did test they would probably find something really really evil. Even worse to me, they seem to skip right past the fact that all the companies are moving towards greening their manufacturing process. If you are going to trivialize, minimize or ignore these efforts why should companies even bother?

I'd really like to be more of a fan of Greenpeace but when they pull this kind of crap I feel like they are a really promising overly idealistic undergraduate who may do something really interesting in a few years. When they grow up.
posted by srboisvert at 6:34 AM on May 21, 2008


I have absolutely no respect for Greenpeace. They're nothing more than attention whores. I lost the last tiny bit of respect for them when they singled out Apple even though every computer in existence uses the same materials.
posted by mike3k at 6:39 AM on May 21, 2008


I'd really like to be more of a fan of Greenpeace but when they pull this kind of crap I feel like they are a really promising overly idealistic undergraduate who may do something really interesting in a few years. When they grow up.

Ah, you've discovered the secret of extremists of all stripes. They may be on the right track, but they have a sophomoric aproach, that of the wise fool.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:40 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


How long until the Greenpeace website starts getting Hax0rd?
posted by stifford at 6:49 AM on May 21, 2008


To paraphrase... because PCs are business machines, they have been 'cleaned up' quite a lot. But toys are a different matter, and so consoles are still 'dirty'; I think this is the main thrust of Greenpeace's paper.

Nintendo, in particular, fared really poorly, and apparently has no public environmental policy at all.

Greenpeace slams Nintendo over lack of public eco policies

Both Microsoft and Sony show improvements, says latest green survey

Greenpeace has again slammed Nintendo for not making public its policies on environmental waste.

The latest Greener Guide to Electronics shows a marginal increase for the Japanese manufacturer, following last year's report when Nintendo scored the lowest mark possible in the review.

"Nintendo remains the odd one out of the 18 companies in the Guide, without any public time lines to eliminate the worst toxic chemicals or a global recycling policy for the millions of products it sells every year," said the report.

"If Nintendo has better policies why not make them public like the other 17 companies in the Guide?"

Of Nintendo's direct competitors, Microsoft has improved its ratings in the three months since the last review by bringing forward a deadline to eliminate toxic PVC and chemicals which inhibit ignition, while Sony remains the leading console maker, although Greenpeace notes "it has yet to introduce any green innovation in the PlayStation."

Greenpeace publishes the Greener Electronics Guide to highlight the electronics' industry's efforts to tackle e-waste. This year, Samsung and Toshiba came out on top, with Nokia, Sony, Dell and Lenovo also noted for their public efforts to deal with toxic waste.

posted by chuckdarwin at 6:55 AM on May 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


Not polyvinyl chloride! Anything but that! Wait, what? They make water pipes out of that? And furniture? Oh.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:00 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let's see, we've hit unfunny, anti-intellectual, and South Park Republicanism. A gaming site hat trick! And these guys wonder why gaming remains a dick-waving boyzone for fat nerds in their 20s?

Ha. Nice one. There was a thread a while back about gaming's cultural resonance (or lack of for such a popular pursuit). I think this was the pithy two line explanation we were looking for.
posted by rhymer at 7:12 AM on May 21, 2008


Uhm,

I get that the manufacture of poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) involves chemicals which are very unpleasant (I mean, all of the good solvents are really really bad), but listing it with 'scary chemical names' found in products? Really?
posted by Comrade_robot at 7:17 AM on May 21, 2008


Ha. Nice one. There was a thread a while back about gaming's cultural resonance (or lack of for such a popular pursuit). I think this was the pithy two line explanation we were looking for.

Don't get me wrong. I own 5 game consoles (PS2, Wii, 360, PSP, DS, although I really only frequently play the 360) and have enjoyed video games since my early childhood. However, the people that REALLY obsess over it and read 5 or more different gaming news sites every day and define their whole identities by it totally creep me out and make me embarrassed to be associated with them.
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:10 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


three blind mice: "There is nothing to say that those consoles weren't contaminated by users. Who knows what those people do when they're not gaming."


Correct. I'm far more wary of the Cheetos, dried semen and Mountain Dew levels in our atmosphere.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:17 AM on May 21, 2008 [2 favorites]


I own 5 game consoles (PS2, Wii, 360, PSP, DS, although I really only frequently play the 360) and have enjoyed video games since my early childhood. However, the people that REALLY obsess over it and read 5 or more different gaming news sites every day and define their whole identities by it totally creep me out and make me embarrassed to be associated with them.

I own zero. I was going to get a Wii, but now I don't want to give the fuckholes over at Nintendo any of my hard-won cash.
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:19 AM on May 21, 2008


I get that the manufacture of poly-vinyl chloride (PVC) involves chemicals which are very unpleasant (I mean, all of the good solvents are really really bad), but listing it with 'scary chemical names' found in products? Really?

To be fair, polyvinyl chloride is even more dangerous than the dihydrogen monoxide currently flooding our water supplies.
posted by Drexen at 8:22 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is there any way that I could favourite KevinSkomsvold's comment again?
posted by chuckdarwin at 8:30 AM on May 21, 2008


Ugh. I cringe when I think how many times I blew air into a Nintendo cartridge as a kid, sending dust and God-knows-what-else back into my face.
posted by Laugh_track at 8:44 AM on May 21, 2008


Laugh_Track - it's not just the shit that gets wafted back into your face. All those old consoles you blew into as a kid mostly end up on the mountains of E-waste in Asia, Africa and so on, causing all kinds of environmental carnage when the aformentioned chemicals are burned into the atmosphere, soak down into the water table etc. Its a problem which is next to impossible to track as well - AFAIK, as well as putting pressure on manufacturing guidelines, Greenpeace are trying to get manufacturers to take responsibility for the dismantling of their products too, as at the moment E-waste just ends up in anonymous, unregulated shipping containers headed for the developing world.
posted by King_Wang at 9:19 AM on May 21, 2008


So.... they're saying that I should stop eating game consoles?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:56 AM on May 21, 2008


How long until the Greenpeace website starts getting Hax0rd?

If it does get "hax0rd", I doubt it will be by any dumbasses who spend all their time playing video games.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:27 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


All those old consoles you blew into as a kid mostly end up on the mountains of E-waste in Asia, Africa and so on

Not true! Several of them are in my basement!
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:29 AM on May 21, 2008


We are conducting a vast toxicologic experiment, and we are using our children as the experimental animals.
posted by Otis at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]


To be fair, polyvinyl chloride is even more dangerous than the dihydrogen monoxide currently flooding our water supplies.

I seriously doubt this is true. Think of the hundreds of thousands of people in Burma (aka Myanmar, aka the Glorious People's State of AwesomeFreedomLand - the new proposed name) or the ones in New Orleans forced from their homes because of contamination with this horrible substance.
posted by Pollomacho at 11:10 AM on May 21, 2008


I was going to get a Wii, but now I don't want to give the fuckholes over at Nintendo any of my hard-won cash.

Care to elaborate?
posted by P.o.B. at 11:56 AM on May 21, 2008


An effort to clean up electronics has been going on for a couple years now.

RoHS got rid of lead, cadmium and some brominated fire retardants.

A Greener Apple covers some of the chemicals. The problems with the chemicals can be in the manufacture or disposal or emissions in normal operation or in a fire.

In PVCs case, the manufacture and disposal are dirty and the emissions from plasticizers used to make it soft (for rubber duckies, but also for wire insulation) have been linked to yadda yadda, further study needed. PVC is an organochloride

After RoHS, there's an effort to reduce other materials containing halogens-- chlorine and bromine. They're ignoring fluorine-containing teflon-alikes for some reason. Teflon makes a nice dielectric in coaxial cable.

PVC pipe has alternatives at least for buildings. California requires copper for supply pipes anyway & everyone uses ABS for waste. PEX seems to be the cool alternative where it's allowed. I'm still using schedule 40 PVC for irrigation.
posted by morganw at 3:57 PM on May 21, 2008


Care to elaborate?

When they come up with some sort of workable environmental policy and stop using sweat shops, I'll buy a Wii.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:20 AM on May 22, 2008


Workable environmental policy?
posted by P.o.B. at 12:02 PM on May 22, 2008


That must have been hastily copied and pasted after Greenpeace's report...
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:12 PM on May 23, 2008


Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. One way to find out:

As is stated in the manuals of the Wii console and DS Lite, neither product contains latex, lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE). Additionally, we have been phasing out the use of PVC in our packaging, using a safer, recyclable plastic instead.

The Wii has been out since November of 06 and the DS has been out since Nov of 04. Check an old manual.
posted by P.o.B. at 6:42 PM on May 23, 2008


I think it's more about their OVERALL policy towards what they do with the factory waste, getting some sort of recycling plan together, etc. Look at Sony as your shining example.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:45 AM on May 27, 2008


« Older Still paying a monthly fee for an MMO? Free-MMOs b...  |  YouTomb... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments