EPEAT, the Green Technology Council and Emerging Green

by Carol Baroudi
Jun 10, 2015 10:15 AM ET

Arrow | Value Recovery

I first learned about EPEAT in 2008 when I was researching Green IT For Dummies. I was no newbie to IT, or to recycling for that matter, but recycling IT? Well, yes. I didn’t know about this global rating system for greener electronics. Today the world’s abuzz with energy concerns, so it’s reassuring to know that the Green Electronics Council has been actively involved with the greening of technology for ten years. Its EPEAT program is designed to aid the environmentally preferable purchase of electronics. The environmental impact of technology in 2005 pales in comparison to its impact today. Today we have many more devices, many more users, many more uses, and we’re always on. 

While the world adopts more and more technology, the Green Electronics Council tries to make the technology we consume ever greener: more energy efficient, safer (less toxic), and easier to repair and recycle. EPEAT considers several categories of environmental attributes that cover the full life cycle of electronic products. The “PC and Displays,” “Imaging Equipment,” and “Televisions” standards address:

  • Reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials
  • Material selection
  • Design for end of life
  • Product longevity/life extension
  • Energy conservation
  • End-of-life management
  • Corporate performance
  • Packaging
  • Consumables (unique to Imaging Equipment standard)
  • Indoor air quality (unique to Imaging Equipment standard)

Addressing the end of life for electronics, EPEAT-registered products come with the manufacturer’s agreement to take them back at the end of their useful life and process them responsibly. The manufacturers, in turn, must use certified recyclers such as Arrow to ensure environmental stewardship.

Moving the industry toward more sustainable IT, the Green Electronics Council works directly with more than 50 manufacturers and thousands of purchasers in more than 42 countries. This year, they’re launching Emerging Green 2015: Electronics in a Circular Economy, an international conference focused on electronics and sustainability. Industry leaders, suppliers, nongovernmental organizations, purchasers, and researchers are coming together to tackle the sustainability challenges specific to electronics. Our very own Scott Venhaus, Director of Global Compliance & Managing Director, Arrow Value Recovery APAC, will be part of the panel discussion “E-Waste in Emerging Economies.” This conference is aimed at solving the very real challenges of sustainable IT. I’ll be there and hope you will be too.

Carol Baroudi works for Arrow’s Value Recovery business, promoting sustainability awareness and action. Her particular focus is electronics at their end-of-life stage, and everything connected.