EPEAT Green Registry to Add Mobile Devices
The Green Electronics Council is collaborating with UL Environment to extend the EPEAT environmental rating system to include mobile devices. Given the respected status of the EPEAT registry and the proliferation of mobile platforms, the move could have a significant impact on industry practices. Consider, for example, that at least 95 percent of government electronic product acquisitions must be EPEAT-registered if the product category exists.
EPEAT stands for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool. As the name suggests, the rating system helps purchasers identify and compare electronics equipment based on environmental attributes. EPEAT currently includes standards for three product categories: 1) personal computing equipment, such as desktops, laptops and monitors 2) imaging equipment and 3) televisions.
The new EPEAT mobile standard will be based on the UL 110 standard, a set of lifecycle sustainability criteria for mobile phones that addresses materials, packaging, energy use, and more. UL 110 debuted in 2011 and is supported by such big names as HTC, Kyocera, LG, Samsung, Sprint and ZTE.
The Green Electronics Council, the managing body behind EPEAT, together with UL Environment, a business unit of Underwriters Laboratories, are working to update the UL 110 standard so it is suitable for the EPEAT system.
According to Green Electronics Council CEO, Robert Frisbee, "Mobile products evolve quickly and have a short lifecycle, presenting us with a clear opportunity to significantly reduce their environmental impact. Choosing to collaborate with UL Environment and update UL 110 reflects our pursuit of 'the best of the best' standards for the EPEAT system."
Sara Greenstein, president of UL Environment, showed her support for the partnership by saying, "UL Environment is proud to be part of providing sustainability solutions to manufacturers and purchasers of mobile phones. This marks the first time a non-IEEE standard will be considered for inclusion on the EPEAT registry. We believe that the solid science behind the UL 110 standard, the trusted UL name, and the renown of the EPEAT system and resource network will be a powerful combination in advancing our core mission, which is to help manufacturers make and market healthier more sustainable products that purchasers can find and trust."
If the Green Electronics Council and UL Environment succeed in their efforts, the new mobile device EPEAT category should be in effect by the end of the year.