Eco-Friendly Computers and Monitors Identified
Green Electronics Council
July 22, 2006
More than 60 desktop computers, laptops, and monitors from three manufacturers were recognized today as part of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funded effort to identify high performance, environmentally friendly computer equipment. All of the products meet the new EPEAT "green" computer standard and they are listed online in the EPEAT database at ww.epeat.net.
Compared to traditional computer equipment, all EPEAT-registered computers have reduced levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury to better protect human health and the environment. They are more energy efficient, which reduces emissions of climate changing greenhouse gases. They are also easier to upgrade and recycle. In fact, manufacturers must offer safe recycling options for the products when they are no longer useable.
EPEAT products are identified as EPEAT-Bronze, EPEAT-Silver, or EPEAT-Gold depending on the number of optional environmental criteria incorporated in the product.
Ed Pinero, the White House Federal Environmental Executive explained that "EPEAT is a great example of market-based environmental stewardship. It creates a powerful tool for purchasers to select environmentally preferable products and creates a clear set of rules for the manufacturers to follow to meet that demand."
Computer monitor washed up on a remote beach in Central Africa
Consumers want environmentally friendly computers
A study conducted earlier this year by Ipsos-MORI on behalf of Greenpeace found that consumers say they would be willing to pay more for an environmentally friendly computer. The amounts ranged from $59 in Germany, $118 in UK, $199 in China and $229 in Mexico. Electronic waste ("e-waste") is a serious concern for environmentalists. Every year, hundreds of thousands of old computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices containing toxic chemicals are dumped in landfills, burned, or exported to poor countries where they are salvaged for parts and buried. The built-in obsolescence of cheap electronic goods has worsened the problem in recent years.
"This initial list of EPEAT-registered computers is just the tip of the iceberg," according to Jeff Omelchuck, Executive Director of the Green Electronics Council, which manages the EPEAT program.
"Other manufacturers are currently registering products. We're thrilled to see the race to the top as manufacturers compete to develop the greenest possible computers." Additional details on the EPEAT standard and the searchable database listing all EPEAT registered computer products is available online at
About EPEAT and the EPEAT Standard
The Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is an easy-to-use tool to help purchasers rank computer desktops, laptops and monitors based on their environmental attributes. The three-tiered EPEAT rating system includes 23 required criteria and 28 optional criteria. The optional criteria are used to determine if the equipment receives EPEAT Bronze, Silver, or Gold recognition. EPEAT was developed over a three year period in an extensive consensus-based, EPA-funded process that included more than 100 representatives from environmental groups, government officials, large volume computer purchasers, subject matter experts, electronics recyclers, and manufacturers. When developing the standard, the group integrated a wide variety of existing environmental standards and requirements into the EPEAT "umbrella" standard, including: the most recent U.S. Energy Star energy efficiency requirements, EPA's Plug-In Guidelines for Materials Management, Rechargeable Battery Recycling Coalition recommendations, Coalition of North Eastern Governors Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation, European Union (EU) restriction on hazardous substances (RoHS), EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment requirements (WEEE), EU battery directives, and various global environmental labeling standards.
Large Volume Purchasers Embrace EPEAT
Although the EPEAT rankings were only released today, EPEAT is already referenced in almost $32 billion worth of computer contracts, including contracts issued by the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, Minnesota, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of San Jose, California, Kaiser Permanente, and Premiere, a healthcare purchasing alliance with more than 1,500 hospitals and more than 41,000 other healthcare sites.
"Like organizations across the country, we are increasingly concerned about the environmental impacts of our purchases, particularly our electronic purchases," explained Dmitriy Nikolaev, Environmental Purchasing Specialist with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. "EPEAT makes it much easier for us to specify affordable, high-quality, high-performance, and environmentally preferable equipment."
"As a health care company, Kaiser Permanente is well aware of the connections between environmental issues and human health," explained Lynn Garske, Kaiser Permanente Environmental Stewardship Manager. "We recognize the potential human health impacts associated with the materials found in traditional computers. As a result, we are very pleased to be one of the first private sector companies to use the EPEAT green computer standard, in addition to other environmental criteria, in our computer purchasing practices."
While EPEAT was originally designed to benefit large volume purchasers such as government agencies, private sector companies, and colleges and universities, EPEAT also makes it possible for individual consumers to review environmental considerations before making their own purchases. Manufacturers Accept the Challenge Manufacturers responded warmly to the EPEAT standard and the accompanying product database.
"Having a consistent standard makes it easier for customers to evaluate the environmental features of the technology they purchase," said Mark Schaffer, manager for Dell Worldwide Environmental Affairs. "As a leader in providing environmentally responsible products and services, Dell is pleased to be one of the first manufacturers to register products with EPEAT."
"CTL's environmental focus has consistently provided us with a competitive advantage, and is one key to our continuous growth," said Erik Stromquist, executive vice president of Oregon-based CTL, a growing regional computer manufacturer. "EPEAT's clear set of performance criteria is a good benchmark on which to base our environmental standards. We are proud to be involved with the program."
"HP's commitment to reduce the environmental impact of our products, services and operations enables both HP and our customers to operate in ways that better support sustainability," said Jeri Callaway, HP's North America Vice President and General Manager of Commercial Solutions, Personal Systems Group.
"As part of HP's longstanding commitment to the environment, HP is particularly proud that our 32 business products on the registry met EPEAT standards without any alteration to their original design." Calculating the Environmental Benefits
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, using very conservative assumptions, estimates that over the next five years, purchases of EPEAT registered computers will result in reductions of:
- More than 13 million pounds of Hazardous Waste
- More than 3 million pounds of Non-hazardous Waste
- More than 600,000 MWh of Energy — enough to power 6 million homes
This is a modified news release from the Green Electronics Council
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