Unibody refers to a new form of laptop manufacture in which the body of the computer is formed from a single piece of metal or plastic. The method makes the computers more compact, but has the possibility of making them more difficult to take apart and recycle.
So EPEAT decided to focus its attention on unibody laptops and selected five computers from Apple, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba.
Disassembly instructions were solicited from the manufacturers, the laptops were bought on the open market, and they were sent to an electronics test laboratory that would do the tests.
"They found they could disassemble all the laptops in at most 20 minutes and remove batteries in at most 3 minutes," said O'Brien. "The recommendation was that all five [laptops] be found in compliance."
Batteries had been a focus of the initial speculation on Apple. Early attempts to disassemble Macbook Air laptops revealed the batteries were glued into space rather that mounted -- something that would enable the company to save a little internal space -- and that was thought to fall afoul of EPEAT standards.
Martyn Williams covers mobile telecoms, Silicon Valley and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org