Greenpeace has given a cautious welcome to Apple's ambitions to be more environmentally friendly.
Apple's manufacturing process has come under fire
In a statement Steve Jobs said the company would stop using toxic and hazardous chemicals in manufacturing.
Greenpeace praised Apple for its decision to phase out the most harmful chemicals but said the electronics giant could do more.
The group wants Apple to improve its recycling policy and stop dumping old products in other parts of the world.
In the statement Apple explained what it had already done to clean up its manufacturing processes and laid out how it was planning to make them greener.
Mr Jobs said in the statement that Apple's policy of not talking about its future plans had led to misconceptions about its green credentials.
"It is certainly clear that we have failed to communicate the things that we are doing well," wrote Mr Jobs.
Apple's future plans include removing arsenic in displays by the end of 2008. By the same date it will stop using polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
Both PVC and BFRs are considered hazardous because they do not break down when disposed of and can accumulate in body tissue and cause a variety of health problems.
It also said it would start using LED backlighting for displays instead of mercury "when technically and economically feasible".
The statement of Apple's green credentials comes in the wake of criticism by environmental groups. In early April Greenpeace put Apple bottom of its rankings of green electronics firms.
The company's headquarters and conferences have been picketed by banner-waving activists calling on Apple to be greener.
In its own statement Greenpeace said Apple's announcement was "something we've all been waiting for" and it praised the decision to stop use of PVC and BFRs before other computer makers.
But Greenpeace said Apple still had ground to make up on its recycling policy.
The green group pointed out that Apple's pledge not to dump returned gadgets and computers in Asia and India only applied to US customers. It called on Apple to offer a global takeback and recycling service.
It said it wanted to see an Apple that was "green to the core".