Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010 - 2015

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2010

Appendix 1. EPEAT and equivalent eco-labels

While the Australian Government has selected EPEAT Silver as the minimum environmental standard to be applied to ICT equipment (outlined in Section 2) it recognises the presence of other established regional and international eco-labels that meet the ISO standards which are relevant to the ICT industry and can be considered at least equivalent to EPEAT. These include independently certified (IC) eco-labelling programs that are members of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN).55

GEN members are voluntary, third party certified, life cycle based eco-labelling programs which comply with the international standard ISO 14024. Some examples of GEN members include Blue Angel (Germany), TCO Certified (Sweden), the EU Ecolabel (Europe), Eco Mark Program (Japan), Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), and Environmental Choice (New Zealand).

ICT related eco-labels will be periodically reviewed over the duration of the ICT Sustainability Plan to determine 'equivalences' to EPEAT.

EPEAT criteria

The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a self declared eco labelling program that aligns to the self declared ISO 14021 eco-label standard. The environmental criteria and operational details of the EPEAT program are contained in a public standard, IEEE 1680, developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), while the program is managed by the Green Electronics Council (GEC), an American not-for-profit organisation. The GEC carries out product declaration verifications to ensure that the products meet the stated criteria.

There are three levels of environmental performance in the EPEAT eco-labelling program:

  • EPEAT Bronze - product meets all 23 mandatory criteria;
  • EPEAT Silver - product meets all required criteria plus 50 per cent of the 28 optional criteria; and
  • EPEAT Gold - product meets all required criteria plus 75 per cent of the optional criteria.

Currently the IEEE 1680 standard covers notebooks, desktops, thin clients, integrated systems and monitors - refer to EPEAT criteria below. Standards are also being developed for imaging equipment and televisions (due 2011) and servers and mobile devices (due 2012/2013). Agencies will be advised as new standards/criteria for ICT equipment become available.

EPEAT criteria
Criteria Category Required criteria Optional criteria
1. Reduction/elimination of environmentally sensitive materials Compliance with provisions of European RoHS Directive upon its effective date

Reporting on amount of mercury used in light sources (mg)

Elimination of intentionally added SCCP flame retardants and plasticisers in certain applications
Low threshold for amount of mercury used in light sources

Elimination of intentionally added mercury used in light sources

Elimination of intentionally added lead in certain applications

Elimination of intentionally added hexavalent chromium

Large plastic parts free of certain flame retardants classified under European Council Directive 67/548/EEC

Batteries free of lead, cadmium and mercury

Large plastic parts free of PVC

Elimination of intentionally added cadmium
2. Materials selection Declaration of post-consumer recycled plastic content (%)

Declaration of renewable/bio-based plastic materials content (%)

Declaration of product weight (kgs)
Minimum content of post-consumer recycled plastic

Higher content of post-consumer recycled plastic

Minimum content of renewable/bio-based plastic material
3. Design for end of life Identification of materials with special handling need

Elimination of paints or coatings that are not compatible with recycling or reuse

Easy disassembly of external enclosure

Marking of plastic components

Identification and removal of components containing hazardous materials

Minimum 65 per cent reusable/recyclable
Reduced number of plastic material types

Moulded/glued in metal eliminated or removable

Minimum 90 per cent reusable/recyclable

Manual separation of plastics

Marking of plastics
4. Product longevity/life cycle extension Availability of additional three year warranty or service agreement

Upgradeable with common tools
Modular design

Availability of replacement parts
5. Energy conservation ENERGY STAR® Early adoption of new ENERGY STAR® specification

Renewable energy accessory available

Renewable energy accessory standard
6. End of life management Provision of product take-back service

Provision of rechargeable battery take-back service
Auditing of recycling vendors
7. Corporate performance Demonstration of corporate environmental policy consistent with ISO 14001

Self-certified environmental management system for design and manufacturing organisations

Corporate report consistent with Performance Track or GRI
Third-party certified environmental management system for design and manufacturing organisations

Corporate report based on GRI
8. Packaging Reduction/elimination of intentionally added toxics in packaging

Separable packing materials

Declaration of recycled content in packaging
Packaging 90% recyclable and plastics labelled

Minimum post-consumer content guidelines

Provision of take-back program for packaging

Documentation of reusable packaging

Source: EPEAT, www.epeat.net/Criteria.aspx