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[GreenYes] Re: recycling language for government purchasing of computers


Hi John,
How computers and other electronics are managed at end of life is
complex and varies tremendously depending on the institution. I'm sure
the State of Wisconsin has mature surplus practices and policies. My
research in this area indicates that many state's surplus agencies
simply sell end-of-life (EOL) electronics at auction with no regard to
what happens after the equipment is off the state's asset books. There
is naturally a risk that this equipment, much of which contains
hazardous chemicals, may be illegally dumped in the US, causing liabilty
under CERCLA to flow back to the State, or be exported to poorly managed
operations overseas where e-scrap is dismantled in ways that harm human
health and the environment (see www.ban.org - in fact, last year they
found shocking practices in Nigeria, including resale of hard drives
with recoverable data - specifically child adoption records from a human
services agency in Wisconsin, in fact). The solution to this is (as you
know) is sound contracting around what happens at EOL for all
state-owned electronics - and attending to this when purchasing new
equipment is a good idea.

You may have heard of EPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental
Assessment Tool (www.epeat.net). This is a tool that enables
institutional purchasers to specify EPEAT-registered electronic products
(such as computers and laptops) in the procurement/contracting process.
By doing so, a purchasing organization is assured that these specific
products have reduced toxics (in accordance with the European Union's
Directive on Restriction on Hazardous Substances), have been designed to
be easily recyclable, and, to your question - the company must offer
product take-back or recycling service "at a competitive price that
meets US EPA's "Plug-In to e-Cycling: Guidelines for Materials
Management" (5/04)" (Plug-In Guidelines can be found on the EPEAT web
site under Reference Documents and Links, and generally assure ). Then
it's just a matter of negotiating price for the whole purchase - though
I recommend asking that the cost/reimbursement for takeback & recycling
be broken out separately. Finally, of course it is easy to add language
to require the new vendor to takeback old equipment for reuse or
recycling (regardless of brand). Dell did this for the City & County of
Denver several years ago with Denver's new IT purchase contract and I
understand it worked pretty well. The current WSCA contract may also
have some language in it on this particular subject.

Scot Case, who's copied here, is the EPEAT person to speak to about how
purchasers can use EPEAT ((610) 779-3770). I'd be glad to answer
questions about RFPs etc. I'll send you Gracestone's fill-in-the-blanks
contract we've developed for public entities, for such services, for
public organizations (offlist), too. Sue Chiang is an environmental
activist working on these issues - she can tell you more about "beyond
EPEAT" too.

Good luck,
Anne Peters
Gracestone, Inc.
Boulder, CO
303.494.4934 vox
303.494.4880 fax

Reindl, John wrote:

>The State of Wisconsin is putting out an RFP for desktop and
>laptop computer purchases very soon. I am part of a meeting on Thursday
>to discuss adding computer recycling requirements with the procurement
>staff. Does anyone have specific language that addresses retirement of
>old computers as a requirement for installing the new ones or other
>ideas? Let me know. Sorry for the short notice but this just came up
>this morning. Thanks.
>
>John
>
>>
>
>
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