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US government amends EPEAT legislation

June 15, 2015

epeatThe White House has issued ‘implementing instructions’ for its Executive Order 13693, clarifying that EPEAT is “the only tool available” to meet the EO’s standards.

The instructions also say that other standards can only be used if the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) does not have a recommended one, and that all products purchased must meet the recommended standard.

The Electronics Takeback Coalition and Green Electronics Council warned in April 2015 that the Presidential Executive Order on federal sustainability and procurement failed to mention the EPEAT rating system, and could have been “abandoned by the federal government”.

Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator of The Electronics TakeBack Coalition, wrote a letter to the Federal Environment Executive, several members of Congress and government agency officials reminding them that EPEAT label “encourages companies pursuing safer chemical strategies to go beyond simply what is regulated” and that it is “included in the order’s implementation instructions”. She further urged the officials “to revise the executive order and eliminate the low bar option for selecting purchasing standards, simply because they are a so-called ‘consensus’ standard”.

The UK cartridge remanufacturers association (UKCRA) also wrote a letter to the White House expressing its “surprise and dismay” at the legislation, and asked the governors to “re-establish EPEAT as quickly as possible to the critical role it plays in helping to mitigate climate change through green procurement”.

Since the release of the new instructions, the Electronics TakeBack Coalition has commended the decision, and said that while it recognises that competing labels may come along, “we only hope that these labels or standards will choose to become part of the EPEAT program (even if they were not developed under the EPEAT system) and place the qualified products on the EPEAT registry”.  The coalition said this is important for retaining the “one-stop-shopping” aspect of EPEAT, with all the information on qualified products in one place, “that makes the EPEAT program so attractive and effective for purchasers”.




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