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Environmental design the focus of electronics industry report

Canada’s Electronics Industry continues to demonstrate leadership in protecting the environment with the release of its first report to focus on improvements in environmental design of consumer electronics and information and communications technology products. The report, “Designing for the Environment”, was released recently at the E-Scrap 2006 conference in Austin, Texas.

The report was prepared by Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC), representing 21 of Canada’s leading electronics manufacturers on environmental issues. EPSC’s Vice-President, Jay Illingworth, describes how its member companies are working to provide more environmentally sound products for Canadian consumers. “We know that Canadians increasingly prefer to purchase products that are easier to recycle at the end of their life, and create less of an impact on the environment throughout their lifecycle. Our member companies have responded by investing signifi cantly in the environmental performance of their products, from initial research and development, through to manufacturing and marketing.” The report details five areas that have shown significant advances over the last several years: chemical management, energy efficiency, materials management, design for recycling, and product expandability. It also outlines how companies have reduced environmentally sensitive chemicals in their products, anddeveloped and incorporated power-saving features. Advancements in technology and the miniaturization of components have reduced the amount of resources required to produce electronic products, and some difficult to recycle plastics are being replaced with lighter, more durable metals that are recyclable. Other companies have developed products that snap apart for ease of recycling, doing away with the need for glue. Others have eliminated paint and varnish on plastics.Additionally, the manufacture of multi-functional devices, such as all-in-one printers, help by reducing the total number of products that need to be produced, shipped and responsibly recycled at end-of-life.

EPSC President steps downDavid Betts has announced he will step down as President and CEO of EPSC in June of this year. Betts has been President of the industry-led, not-for-profit organization since it was founded in 2003.

Betts feels that the EPSC has been successful in working with governments, recyclers and other stakeholders to create effective programs that will result in environmentally responsible recycling. “When EPSC began, we wanted to see programs that worked at the provincial level, but that had common elements that helped to integrate the programs across the country. We also wanted to ensure that there were strict guidelines and standards in place to ensure that electronics were processed and recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner. With industry-led programs about to begin in British Columbia and started in Saskatchewan, and the implementation of our Recycling Vendor Qualification Program (RVQP) that assesses and qualifies the companies that recycle electronic products, we are seeing tangible results that will protect our environment, and the people who work in the recycling industry. I am confident that EPSC and its member companies will continue to see effective provincial programs established across the country.”

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