Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), the green electronics rating system, has published its 2010 Environmental Benefits Report. It’s the fifth such report and shows that the number of EPEAT registered products (mostly desktops, notebooks and displays) has more than doubled since 2009, which the organisation sees as supporting a trend towards greener industry standards for electronics.
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’s manufacturer subscribers must annually report on their sales of all EPEAT registered products, which is the basis for the report.
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, all of which went through a registration process that required reduced energy consumption and more efficient design and recycling standards to reduce the overall impact on the environment.
Highlights from EPEAT’s 2010 Environmental Benefits Report include the fact that over their lifetime EPEAT registered electronic products purchased worldwide in 2010 will:
Reduce use of toxic materials, including mercury, by 1,156 metric tons.
Reduce use of primary materials by 15.7 million metric tons.
Avoid the disposal of 59,525 metric tons of hazardous waste.
Eliminate the equivalent of more than 16,052 US households’ annual solid waste—31,991 metric tons.
Since EPEAT’s requirement includes the latest Energy Star efficiency specifications, these products will also consume less energy, resulting in:
Savings of over nine billion kWh of electricity — enough to power 757,416 US homes for a year.
Avoidance of 36 million metric tons of air emissions (including greenhouse gas emissions) and over 77 thousand metric tons of water pollutant emissions.
Reduction of over 1.6 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — equivalent to taking nearly 1.1 million US cars off the road for a year.
EPEAT (and Energy Star) have certainly made an impact and helped make desktops and laptops a lot less harmful to the environment than they would otherwise have been. The organisation has expanded its sphere of influence quite a lot over the last year or so through international collaboration. It just needs to keep pushing away at upping the standards, broadening the scope (imaging equipment and televisions are expected to be added next year) and building the geographic influence.
It’s also nice to see that the UK is in fourth place in terms of purchases of EPAET registered desktops, notebooks and displays, behind China, the US, Canada and Germany.