Apple’s decision to remove its products from the EPEAT registry, and its later decision to re-list them, have led to a number of questions about how thin and light laptops are evaluated by the organization. Today, EPEAT is announcing that it’s beginning a period of "surveillance" of thin and lights in order to get a better handle on "broad ambiguities or issues with product declarations." Specifically, it's looking at how adhesive use impacts its criteria governing disassembly of external enclosures and the identification and removal of components with hazardous chemicals.

In order for manufacturers to claim EPEAT certification, they first declare that said products meet EPEAT standards by registering them with the organization, and only afterward do some get randomly selected to see if they satisfy EPEAT's Conformity Assessment Protocols. This lets the organization deal with a huge volume of new electronic devices at arm’s length; having manufacturers police themselves under threat of "publicly embarrassing" exposure for failing to meet the standard. Newer laptop designs like Apple’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display make use of glue to attach components, and with statements like "all covered products shall not contain molded-in or glued-in metal inserts in plastic enclosures unless they are easy to remove" (emphasis ours), it isn't exactly clear how the newer production methods affect EPEAT certification. The organization says it will take four weeks to complete the information gathering — tapping manufacturers, designers, recyclers, and other experts; after which it will communicate its findings to the masses. The investigation could wind up in some manufacturers choosing to de-register their products with the organization, as well as "broader public verification processes," said EPEAT's CEO Robert Frisbee.