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Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)

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Evaluation Tool

Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)

Tool Category

Standards, Certifications & Labels

At a Glance

EPEAT is an environmental standard for electronics. It evaluates electronic products in relation to 51 environmental criteria. To qualify for registration as an EPEAT product, the product must conform to 23 required environmental criteria. Manufacturers can achieve a higher level EPEAT “rating” for products by meeting up to 28 additional optional criteria.

Retailers should note there are 3 tiers of environmental performance requiring additional criteria be met at each level.

Tool Website(s)

www.epeat.net

Tool Owner/Sponsor

Green Electronics Council, a program of the International Sustainable Development Foundation (ISDF)

Type of Entity

Non-profit

Focus of Evaluation

Substances

Product Stage of Life Evaluated

Raw materials, manufacturing, transportation, consumer use, end of life

Impact(s) Evaluated

Energy use, environmental health, human health, recycled content, waste. See www.epeat.net/Criteria.aspx#criteriatable and www.epeat.net/Docs/Summary%20of%20EPEAT%20Criteria.pdf

Tool Description

Manufacturers add their electronic products to the EPEAT global registry by declaring that the products meet specific criteria contained in a public standard, IEEE 1680 (IEEE Standard for Environmental Assessment of Electronic Products). Criteria fall into 8 categories: reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials; materials selection; design for end of life; product longevity/life cycle extension; energy conservation; end of life management; corporate performance; and packaging.

There are 51 environmental criteria evaluated by EPEAT — 23 are required criteria and 28 are optional criteria. According to the number of criteria met, manufacturers can achieve 3 ratings of environmental performance:

  • Bronze. All registered products must meet the required criteria, and achieve Bronze status.
  • Silver. Meets all 23 required criteria plus at least 50% of the optional criteria.
  • Gold. Meets all 23 required criteria plus at least 75% of the optional criteria.

Product Categories

Electronics

Tool Requirements

Manufacturers must subscribe to EPEAT to list their products on the EPEAT registry and pay an annual fee.

Manufacturers add their products to the registry by declaring that the products meet specific individual criteria of IEEE 1680. Product declarations are not precertified; however manufacturers must be able upon request at any time following product registration to produce the required supporting evidence spelled out in the IEEE standard. In order to maintain the credibility of the system, EPEAT periodically selects a batch of products and criteria from the registry and verifies that they meet the criteria as declared.

Cost of Tool

Costs for purchasing the IEEE 1680 standard ranges from $52 for IEEE members to $67 for non-members .

The cost of an annual EPEAT subscription is $5,000 to $115,000 per year for US and Canadian manufacturers, depending on total sales. There is no additional per-product fee.

Evaluation Frequency

Not applicable. Due to rapid product turnaround in the electronics market, EPEAT stakeholders determined that ongoing, randomly timed surveillance was the best way to identify if the standard's requirements were not being met.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Strengths: Retailers can see at a glance which manufacturers and products are registered with EPEAT.

Weaknesses: There is the potential for manufacturers to misrepresent products in the hope that they will not be randomly audited. EPEAT thinks this is unlikely due to the strong "embarrassment" factor of such a public exposure.

Examples of Retailers That Use It

Apple

For More Information

Green Electronics Council: (503)-279-9383; Julia Bulfin: jbulfin@isdf.org , Jeff Omelchuck: jeff.omelchuck@greenelectronicscouncil.org

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