Electronics environmental standard
encouraged with certification
A new voluntary standard has been established
for computers and computer monitors to help personal and corporate
purchasers reduce the environmental impact of the electronics
they buy and discard. The new standard is the IEEE (Institute
for Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standards Association)
1680™ “Standard for Environmental Assessment of
Personal Computer Products.”
This new standard offers criteria in eight
categories – material selection, environmentally sensitive
materials, design for end of life, end-of-life management, energy
conservation, product longevity and life-cycle extension, packaging,
and corporate performance.
The standard is part of a project called the
Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), funded
by the EPA and managed by the Green Electronics Council (GEC).
EPEAT promotes continued improvement in electronic device design
to make technology more environmentally friendly. It also serves
to inform environmentally conscious consumers of which products
have the smallest environmental impacts.
The GEC will begin keeping a registry of computer
products that meet IEEE 1680 criteria, starting in June 2006.
They will also verify that manufacturers provide factual and
up to date data about their products.
The new standard, which has been recognized
by the American National Standards Institute, has already been
referenced by government agencies and private purchasers for
more than $21 billion worth of IT equipment contracts and requests
for proposals. This is a good indication that many agencies
will purchase EPEAT-certified products as they become available.
The EPA estimates that over the next five
years the EPEAT program will result in reductions of both hazardous
and non-hazardous waste by 4 million and 1 million pounds respectively,
and an energy savings of more than 200,000 MWh, or enough to
power 2 million homes.