Environmental activists pounced on Apple board member and former US vice president Al Gore's offices on Friday, campaigning for the computer company to address their worries about disposal of harmful waste.

Activists from the Computer Take Back Campaign left a prepaid calling card at Gore's offices and asked him to contact them. They want Gore - who has prioritised environmental issues - to use his position on Apple's board to promote recycling.

Campaigners want green Apple

The organisation wants Apple to begin a scheme to take back and dispose of discarded Apple products containing toxins, such as lead and mercury.

"When the millions of Apple's obsolete computers and other electronic products hit the landfills and incinerators, millions of pounds of toxic lead and other highly toxic materials will be dumped into our air, land, and water," the activists claim.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has dismissed the groups concerns, telling shareholders they were "bull..." during a financial call in April 2005.

However, Apple has begun offering free recycling of iPods through its US retail stores, but campaigners want the company to take things further.

"We want Jobs to be the hero he can be – and offer free and convenient recycling for all of Apple's obsolete products," they said.

The campaigners have already successfully convinced Dell and HP to adopt more environmentally friendly procedures.

Environment on the agenda

Meanwhile, Apple's home state of California is looking at introducing laws that ban the use toxins in electronic devices such as mobile phones and iPods. Manufacturers would be required to stop using such toxins in devices sold in the state by 2008.

"We know that the manufacturers of these products are able to produce them without including harmful toxic materials," said assembly member Lori Saldana, proposer of the bill.