EPEAT-Amazon Partnership

EPEAT on Amazon.com Still a Work in Progress

Now don't get too excited. I did and was a little disappointed until I contacted Sarah O'Brien, outreach and communications, at the Green Electronics Council.

Amazon.com is providing EPEAT® ratings information to customers so that they can choose the more environmentally-friendly electronic product.

The action seems to be driven by the Council, whose mission it is to manage EPEAT, the green electronics “certification” and purchasing system that has created a $60 billion market incentive for greener laptops, desktops, and monitors.

At the latest count, more than 800 greener IT products were tagged with EPEAT information on Amazon. You can't choose the Electronics category and then type in EPEAT to find the products you're interested in, though. Sarah explained, you have to search Electronics, then scroll down the left navigation bar and click on "Green."

A nice feature of Amazon's site is the EPEAT overview page, which provides direct links to various gold-, silver-, and bronze-rated products. One listed computer, MacBook Pro for example, is made from recyclable aluminum and glass, has a mercury-free LED backlit display, and is free of arsenic, BFR (what is this?), and PFC. It is EPEAT registered but you really can't see how high the rating is ─ until you click on "more about this product" ─ unless you remember which level you clicked on before you began reading actual product information. As a bonus, Amazon certifies some packaging as "frustration free" ─ literally free of plastic clamshells and wires. You can recycle the box.

Sarah said that the program still is in the initial stages. "We are working with Amazon on encouraging vendors to identify products as EPEAT Gold, etc. in their new product data entry so that they can be searched for from general search with the term “EPEAT” [this is what I initially tried] and creating a UPC-linked feed out of our system so that the individual product listings can be matched more easily and assigned specific tier logos."

Hurray! That should make the task easier, and as everyone knows, if it's not convenient, we're probably not going to use it.

FYI, EPEAT rates electronic products based on 51 criteria, including elimination of toxic materials, design for recycling, extended product longevity, increased energy efficiency, and availability of takeback and recycling services. EPEAT now includes more than 40 manufacturer participants of all sizes registering more than 1,000 environmentally preferable products around the world.

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Jan 25, 2010