Producer Take Back
-Joint statement by electronic manufacturers and NGOs on Producer Responsibility for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE), March 2, 2007
When producers are financially responsible for taking back their products at the end of life, there are incentives to re-design products and make them more sustainable throughout their life cycle.
CPA is working on the following initiatives to establish a producer take back system for electronic products that promotes green design and a more efficient use of resources:
- Establishing producer take back for all electronic products
- Advancing the largest producer take back campaign in the US
- Defining procurement standards for green electronics
Establishing Producer Take back for all Electronic Products
Reasons why producer take back is the preferred system for electronic waste:
- The cost of managing discarded computers and other electronics falls on taxpayers and local governments. In the worst case, most electronic waste is being exported to China for uncontrolled and hazardous waste recycling.
- Responsibility for product waste streams encourages manufacturers to adopt sustainable product design because they become accountable for take-back, recycling and reuse of their materials.
- It is more cost effective and safer to design products that are nonhazardous, able to be upgraded, and are more durable, recyclable and reusable — or in the case of bio-based materials, safely composted.
To learn more about producer take back, click here to download CPA’s Extended Producer Responsibility Tool Kit.
To better understand the link between producer take back and green design, please download CPA’s factsheet: Producer Responsibility for Product Take-back can Promote Eco-Design.
Advancing the largest producer take back campaign in the US
Clean Production Action is on the steering committee for the U.S. based Electronic Take Back Coalition (ETBC), which is working to establish producer responsibility as the preferred end of life treatment of electronic products.
Results of this successful campaign:
- Over half of the US states now have, or intend to have, full producer responsibility for e-waste.
- Companies, such as HP, Dell, Apple and Sony are committed to full take-back of e-waste in the US and some globally.
- Many leading recyclers have signed a pledge not to export hazardous materials illegally to developing countries and develop better practices for domestic recycling.
- Nationally, the House Science and Technology is addressing the problem of electronic waste. Click here to see EBTC’s testimony on The Exploding Global Waste Crisis and Why Green Design is the Solution.
Defining procurement standards for green electronics
Clean Production Action sits on the board of advisors for the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which registers computers and soon to be other electronic products based on their environmental performance. The standard uses 51 criteria to evaluate products across their life cycle. Products listed on EPEAT are more energy efficient, have less toxic substances and will be taken back by producers at the end of life. Success of EPEAT shows that there is market support for producer take back and green design:
- The EPEAT green computer procurement system ended 2007 with over $60 billion in contracts.
- The federal government is mandated to buy at least 95% of its computer products through EPEAT.
- Over 500 products are listed on the registry.
New standards will likely be developing for printers and other imaging devices, servers and televisions. Click here to learn more about the products registered on EPEAT (www.epeat.net).