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Portland, Ore. organization gets $375,000 to identify “green computers”

Release Date: 02/15/2006
Contact Information: Lisa Fasano, 415-947-4307, fasano.lisa@epa.gov

(San Francisco, Calif. - Feb. 15, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a $375,000 a grant to the Green Electronics Council of Portland, Ore. to develop a system to help large corporate computer purchasers identify and select computers, laptops, and monitors meeting strict environmental criteria.

The council will receive $175,000 this year to create and maintain a green computer registry for corporate purchasers. Computer manufacturers will identify their products meeting set criteria and the council will confirm their claims. In June, the council will start to post registered products at http://www.epeat.net. The grant will be made up of funds from EPA Headquarters, EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region and EPA’s office in New York. The EPA’s Pacific Southwest Regional office in San Francisco will manage the grant.

“Corporations want to purchase equipment that is environmentally sensitive, energy efficient and can be properly salvaged and disposed,” said Wayne Nastri, Regional EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest Region. “This program will give companies an easy way to identify green products that ensures they are making environmentally sound and cost effective purchases when buying computer equipment.”

The Electronic Products Environmental Assessment Tool or EPEAT rating system includes 23 required criteria and 28 optional performance criteria organized in the following product performance categories:

· reduction and elimination of environmentally sensitive materials,
· materials selection and packaging,
· design for the end of usefulness and extending the life of a computer,
· energy conservation,
· disposal management, and
· corporate performance

Products meeting all of the required criteria will be identified as bronze products. Products meeting at least 14 of the optional criteria in addition to the required criteria will be listed as silver products and those meeting at least 21 of the optional criteria and the required criteria will be designated gold EPEAT products. The Green Electronics Council will assure that electronics entered into the system meet the criteria through regular audits and spot checks.

The EPA funded the two year process of creating the criteria, with participation of more than 50 stakeholders including environmental non-profit organizations, large public and private sector purchasers, major computer and component manufacturers, electronic recyclers, and others.

Electronics are a fast growing portion of the municipal waste stream. Approximately two million tons of used electronics, including computers and televisions, are discarded each year while only around 13% of those computers were reused or recycled. Electronic products contain a variety of hazardous constituents that pose challenging environmental management concerns.

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