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Electronics Stewardship Taking the leadership step at DOI Viccy Salazar, US EPA.

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Presentation on theme: "Electronics Stewardship Taking the leadership step at DOI Viccy Salazar, US EPA."— Presentation transcript:

1 Electronics Stewardship Taking the leadership step at DOI Viccy Salazar, US EPA

2 Goals that Anchor our Work Foster environmentally conscious design and manufacturing to reduce the lifecycle environmental impacts of electronic products; Increase purchasing and use of those electronic products which are more environmentally sustainable; Increase reuse and recycling of used electronics and ensure that the management of used electronics is safe and environmentally sound.

3 Four key facts about Federal Government and Electronics

4 Fact #1 Approximately 10,000 federally owned computers could be deemed excess or surplus each week The Federal Government is setting Environmentally Sound Management guidelines for itself to ensure it is responsibly managing its electronic assets! From This To This

5 Fact #2 - The Federal government is a huge procurer of consumer electronics With 1.8 million employees, the U.S. Federal sector represents a significant market share for electronics – About 7% of the total market FY 2003 IT budget – approximately $53 BILLION (Hardware & Services) Projected FY 2004 IT budget – approximately $59 BILLION (Hardware & Services)

6 Fact #3 – Electronics represent serious environmental costs and opportunities Electronic equipment contains hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, chromium, cadmium, and beryllium. And valuable metals such as aluminum and copper and precious metals - gold, silver, platinum and palladium. Components can be reused, recycled, or reclaimed in the current marketplace. This is important to the Federal Government

7 Fact #4 - The Federal government’s purchase and use of electronics are not sustainable. Average life cycle of Federally owned computers is 3 years Significant quantities are ending up in storage closets, warehouses, or landfills Liability Avoidance and Environmental Stewardship are important to the Federal Community

8 Liability CERCLA, RCRA, State, Illegal

9 CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act Also known as Superfund Addresses abandoned and closed hazardous waste sites Uses administrative orders that requires one or more parties to conduct the cleanup Holds those responsible for the release of hazardous waste liable for the cleanup costs Establishes a fund for cleanup when responsible parties can not be identified Full text of CERCLA:

10 CERCLA Liability Is strict and joint and several – Any party that ever sent any waste to the facility is potentially fully liable for cleanup The liability is applied regardless of what was sent, and what the contamination is A party can not be released from this liability May require cleanup costs be paid years, or decades, later Citizen suites can also be used to collect costs

11 How a generator could become liable for cleanup costs If a generator sends electronics to a recycler that releases toxins and goes out of business, then anyone who sent material to the recycler could be liable for cleanup costs There is always the possibility of liability if a recycler mismanages material and has a release of toxic materials If a facility disposes of, or arranges for disposal of, electronics in a landfill or other disposal site there is the risk of CERCLA liability if the site begins to release hazardous substances.

12 RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Provides “cradle to grave” hazardous waste management authority Includes generation, treatment, and storage of hazardous waste Regulates active facilities EPA ID numbers are issued to facilities that handle waste; it is not a certification of their work Full text of RCRA:

13 RCRA Liability Liability applies to the parties responsible for the facility in the event of a release CERCLA generally defers regulatory control to RCRA An EPA identification number is not an assurance of good environmental practice Allows for monitoring the volume of waste generated Prevents registered generators from dealing with non-registered parties It is not a certification of responsible management by the EPA

14 RCRA Liability Generally, a facility that disposes of over 220 lbs. of hazardous waste a month becomes a small quantity generator. This is about 8 CRT containing monitors This weight is the total weight of the hazardous electronic equipment, not just the hazardous component Local hazardous waste rules may be stricter than federal rules. Enforcement may be by: State or local agency EPA Citizen suit provisions of RCRA

15 Liability in regards to the sale of electronics Generally, selling a useful product releases the seller from liability However, if usable products are sold with unusable materials this could be considered arranging for disposal If the buyer improperly manages the unusable material there is potential for the seller to be liable

16 State to State Variation CERCLA and RCRA are two federal laws covering hazardous waste management States are required to adopt these standards, or create their own Any state specific standards must be stricter than the federal rules Contact your state and local officials for information about any local rules For individual situations, contact your facility’s legal counsel.

17 Illegal dumping In some states the waste generator can be held responsible if waste is illegally dumped. These laws have been used to stop dumping, or recover cleanup costs as shown in the following example

18 Example: A Sham Recycler Abandons Electronic Waste In Minnesota a ‘recycler’ collected electronic waste from schools, businesses, and not-for-profits The ‘recycler’ retrieved components of value and abandoned low value materials

19 Example: A Sham Recycler Abandons Electronic Waste Many groups had paid the recycler thinking that he would properly recycle the material Other groups had donated the material to a third party that sent the equipment to the ‘recycler’ for processing No one expected to ever hear about the equipment again

20 Example: A Sham Recycler Abandons Electronic Waste There was a judgment against the recycler: clean it up in five months or get 90 days in jail. Because the landlord is losing rent she has taken it upon herself to clean up the waste. To recover her cleanup costs, potentially over $100,000; she may sue the waste generators. Since the recycler abandoned the material and stopped paying rent over a year ago, the landlord may attempt to recover lost rent from the generators.

21 A Federal Enforcement Example In 2000 the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in Boston was caught placing electronic equipment in dumpsters for disposal. This is a violation of state law and RCRA Massachusetts has a landfill ban for CRTs They attempted to dispose of over 220 lbs. of hazardous waste

22 A Federal Enforcement Example EPA was able to issue a notice of violation (NOV) and impounded the dumpster the same day The potential maximum fine was $27,500 per violation EPA’s NOV required DHHS to remove their waste from the dumpster and manage it correctly DHHS sent the material to a local recycler and no further action was taken by EPA

23 How to Minimize Liability Only sell or donate working equipment Responsibly manage unusable materials - RECYCLE Do not assume that a buyer will properly handle equipment that parts were taken from for repair Be tough when evaluating equipment – don’t pass problem equipment on to others Selling or donating unusable equipment is unfair, and may make it difficult to find groups to take working equipment in the future.

24 How to Minimize Liability Work with the recipients of donations so they know how to, and will, properly manage EOL equipment Educate them about the issues of electronic waste Offer them lists of recyclers Discuss how to facilitate recycling Donating group takes back the equipment for recycling Allowing recipients to make use of existing recycling services contracts Other options?

25 EPEAT Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool

26 What is ? *multi-stakeholder process to develop a tool for evaluating the environmental performance of electronic products (focusing on PCs and monitors). Promote continuous improvement Address the entire product lifecycle Inform purchasing decisions by institutional purchasers Provide market advantage for green products Be low cost, user friendly, and causes minimal delay in time to market; Produces credible, verifiable outcomes.

27 The Basics Structure of Tool -EPEAT org defines criteria & data needs -Multi-tier (3) ratings -Manufacturer self assesses product to criteria; submits declaration to EPEAT org via web; maintains support data -Validation Process: -Signed manufacturer assurances -After-market spot-checks Multi-attribute environmental criteria will build on or adopt criteria from existing systems Criteria based on agreed upon principles

28 Principles for Selecting Criteria Promote Toxics Reduction/Phase Out Promote Materials Efficiency Promote Energy Efficiency Promote Extended Product Life and Sustainable EOL Management Promote Environmentally Sound Manufacturing

29 The Criteria Base set of mandatory criteria (from all categories) 32 optional criteria in 8 different categories Reduce Eliminate Environmentally Sensitive Materials Material Selection Design for End-of-life Product Longevity/Lifecycle Extension Energy Conservation End-of-Life Management Corporate Performance Packaging

30 Step by Step Manufacturer signs an MOU with EPEAT Manufacturer evaluates products against EPEAT criteria Three levels of achievement… Green (Bronze), Greener (Silver), Greenest (Gold) Self-certifies that product meets EPEAT and level EPEAT Organization verifies claims on X% of product to ensure quality and validity

31 Status 3 Areas of Focus for development -Tool Structure: Finalized -Attributes/Criteria: Finalized -Host Organization: In the thick of it - Final Development Team meeting Nov 8, 9 and 10 in DC Implementation (Formed at Nov. Meeting) -Just getting started: 2005 -Piloting in mid 2005 -Final tool in early 2006 Marketing Working with purchasers to ensure widespread adoption

32 What do I do NOW? EPEAT I-team is developing an interim plan for purchasers who are ready to purchase now. Expect a draft by the end of 2004 Will include bid specs and ways to evaluate criteria before the tool is completed. Communicate your expectations to manufacturers that you want green products Communicate with your purchasing staff on the need for greener electronics and WHY!

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