The Second EPEAT Meeting Brings OEMs, Remans Together in San Francisco
- By Tricia Judge
- May 01, 2010
The second face-to-face meeting of EPEAT working group representatives took place in San Francisco on March 15 to 17. Working groups had used weekly conference calls and the November meeting in Washington D.C. to craft 15 pages of environmental guidelines for purchasing televisions and imaging equipment and their consumables.
I represented the members of the International Imaging Technology Council, and was joined by Vincent van Dijk of the European Toner & Inkjet Remanufacturers’ Association (ETIRA), Laura Heywood of the United Kingdom Cartridge Remanufacturers Association (UKCRA) and their industry expert Michael Gell. Bill Huggins returned as well and represented Static Control Components.
“For ETIRA, the work in EPEAT is very important,” said van Dijk in November. “We welcome any initiative that enhances green public procurement: as a rule, public bodies worldwide should opt for the most environment-friendly solution when they buy products or services. If implemented correctly, EPEAT can be a major tool to promote our industry’s products.”
The aftermarket’s efforts continue to be supported by many representatives from environmental groups and the government. These people have likewise served on the many bi-weekly EPEAT conference calls. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), will lead to a new federal certification program in the purchase of printers and consumables. Once concluded, 95 percent of federal purchases will be required to meet EPEAT criteria.
EPEAT is a system that helps purchasers evaluate, compare and select electronic products based on their environmental attributes. The system currently covers desktop and laptop computers, workstations and computer monitors. EPEAT began examining printers for assessment in early 2009.
Registered products are rated as “gold,” “silver” or “bronze” depending on the percentage of 28 optional criteria they meet above the baseline criteria. EPEAT operates an ongoing verification program to assure the credibility of the registry.
The participant list is a vast assortment of OEMs, with only a handful of aftermarket representatives. Participation by all the associations’ representatives has been critical…and successful. The aftermarket participants are encouraging the use of remanufactured cartridges in these printers, while also monitoring the suggestions of the OEM representatives.
To date, the committee has considered several criteria, including the issues of warranty voiding, inhibiting the use of remanufactured cartridges and end-of-life concerns. The committees and subgroups will continue to meet by phone in the next months, and hope to have proposed standards ready by the end of 2010. Discussions for the committees and subcommittees are confidential. (The exact language cannot be disseminated outside of the group members until after finalization, under EPEAT rules.)
Bringing together OEMs and aftermarket members presented some prickly moments, and this trend continued in San Francisco. However, the OEMs have been frank in the defense of their positions, and their candor has made the process less adversarial than expected.
Although a U.S. program, EPEAT has attracted international participation because its guidelines will have a global impact. Products that meet the required 23 environmental performance criteria may be registered in EPEAT by their manufacturers in 40 countries worldwide.
This article originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Recharger.
Tricia Judge is the executive director of the International Imaging Technology Council, a not-for-profit trade association serving imaging supplies remanufacturers and dealers. Judge was also the executive editor of Recharger Magazine for five years. Judge managed a private law practice that specialized in small business issues for 11 years. Judge’s work has been published in various industry publications, and she has won critical acclaim for her writing and industry advocacy. She is a regular speaker on industry issues at meetings around the world.