Before Apple made headlines by deciding to pull its products from EPEAT (and then reversed that decisions days later), you’d probably never heard of the Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool. That’s because the organization, while focused on making electronics more environmentally friendly, has been mostly concerned with evaluating the manufacturers and materials associated with the computers, printers, and other equipment we use every day.
In just a few days, however, EPEAT will launch its first tool designed specifically for you, the consumer. On July 31st, the organization will unveil its new EcoSense labeling system, a way for customers to judge the environmental impact of common electronics at a glance. The global launch will occur at Portland’s Office Depot, which has recently been remodeled to feature a smaller, more sustainable design.
The Portland debut will mark the first time that consumers can shop with the assistance of the new EcoSense label. For the first time in a store setting, computers and displays that qualify for EPEAT’s rigorous environmental rating will be identified to help consumers choose ‘greener’. With this label, shoppers around the world will be able to cut through the clutter of unreliable green marketing tactics that often mislead, confuse, and frustrate.
In addition, these lucky Portland shoppers will be among the first to experience Office Depot’s new, smaller store layout, helping the corporation save energy while shoppers save time. The Downtown Portland location features a number of green building elements, including T5 energy-saving lights and reflectors allowing use of two bulbs instead of three per fixture; daylight and occupancy sensors to reduce energy use; reused store shelving and fixtures; recycled content carpet; and interior finishes made up of low VOC emitting materials.
“By creating smaller stores we’re reducing our retail footprint, our energy footprint and our carbon footprint,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director of Environmental Strategy at Office Depot. “In Portland, we are also helping customers reduce their environmental footprints by providing them with greener choices that are more readily accessible, including EcoSense. This store represents a new model for consumer engagement on sustainability.”
If you live in Portland, make plans to stop by the store on July 31st! You’ll also have the chance to provide EPEAT with feedback that will be used to implement EcoSense labeling in retail locations nationwide.