UL Environment and the Green Electronics Council have teamed up to add a mobile-device category to the Electronic Product Environmental Tool (EPEAT) global registry for greener electronics.
After approval, the updated standard is expected to debut in early 2014.
UL 110 will serve as the basis for a new mobile-device EPEAT category. This is the first time the GEC has incorporated an environmental standard from an organization not involved in the EPEAT system’s 2006 launch.
With an average lifespan of 18 months or less, users dispose of mobile phones at an ever-increasing rate, GEC and UL Environment say. According to a 2012 EPA report, approximately 152,000,000 mobile devices including cellphones, smartphones and pagers were disposed of in 2010.
In 2012, more than 108.8 million smartphones were purchased in the US alone, UL Environment says.
UL’s EcoLogo Certification to UL 110 is based on the environmental and human health aspects of a mobile phone’s entire lifecycle. Inclusion of such a standard in EPEAT ensures that federal purchasers know which devices comply with federal purchasing requirements, UL Environment says.
EPEAT is used as an environmental purchasing requirement by eight national governments, including the US, as well as by educational and healthcare systems and multinational corporations
Mobile phone manufacturers say the EPEAT and UL 110 initiative shows progress towards a more sustainable marketplace.
Amy Hargroves, director of corporate responsibility for Sprint, says the mobile phone company requires all wireless phones to go through the UL 110 certification process.
LG Electronics, an early adopter of the UL 110 standard, and Samsung, the first manufacturer to certify to the UL 110 standard, say EPEAT registration for mobile phones will better help environmentally conscious customers identify green devices.
In addition to registration in the EPEAT registry, mobile phones can also be fully certified to UL 110 by UL Environment and will then be listed in the Sustainable Product Database.
Certified mobile phones can also carry UL Environment’s EcoLogo Certification mark indicating they’ve achieved certification to the UL 110 standard.
The following manufacturers and carriers have products certified to the UL 110 standard: HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola Mobility, Pantech, Research In Motion, Samsung and ZTE Corporation.