After two years of discussion and ‘fierce debate’ the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Imaging Equipment and Television working groups have sent their draft environmental standards to the general membership of the IEEE Standards Association for review and voting.
EPEAT’s criteria include design, production, energy use and recycling. It’s taken two years of hard discussion and negotiation to get the hundreds of stakeholders from around the world, including manufacturers, environmental NGOs, recyclers, private and public purchasers, to reach agreement.
IEEE balloting on the draft standards will begin in the near future, with all members of IEEE invited to vote. All going well, the standards will be launched in 2012.
The standards will join IEEE 1680.1, covering personal computers – the original standard which formed the basis for the EPEAT green electronics rating system. EPEAT will use the new imaging and television standards to certify green products in the new categories, which includes computer printers and scanners.
Expansion of registration companies
EPEAT has also reported progress in implementing its expanded registration network (which we reported on last December) and has established a schedule for program rollout over the next few months. The green electronics registry will be joined by multiple “Product Registration Entities” (PREs) working in a pilot capacity with manufacturers to enrol their products in EPEAT’s scheme. Following the pilot phase, EPEAT will begin fully accrediting and engaging PREs.
Jeff Omelchuck, EPEAT’s Executive Director said “The PRE system enables us to expand product registration and verification capacity in EPEAT to meet burgeoning global demand. Yet it also enables us to stay true to the vision stakeholders laid out in the IEEE 1680 standard - of a central registry that allows head to head comparison of products and spurs competition among manufacturers on the basis of environmental performance.”
EPEAT is managed by the Green Electronics Council, itself a programme of the International Sustainability Development Foundation (ISDF) which ‘envisions a world where commerce, communities and nature thrive in harmony’. EPEAT is certainly a step in the right direction. There are currently more than 3,200 EPEAT registered products from over 45 manufacturers registered in 41 countries. According to EPEAT, between July 2006 and January 2010 more than 300 million EPEAT registered products were sold worldwide, with environmental benefits equivalent to removing 8.8 million US cars from the road for a year.