There are many standards relating to eco-design approaches. Among these standards, there are three standards related to eco-design and recovering of an EEE at end of life.
Standard ISO 14062: Integrating environmental aspects into product design and development
This standard is intended to present the general principles of the integration of environmental aspects in product development.
- List a series of potential benefits brought by the adoption of an environmental approach. These include among them:
- A better consideration of customer expectations,
- Stimulation of innovation,
- Improvement of the branding of a company,
- A better understanding of the product,
- Risk reduction, including legal.
The standard also refers to the environmental objectives expected by the use of an environmental approach. There are two main objectives:
- Promote the adoption of a preventive approach to pollution rather than curative measures.
- Conserve resources (energy and materials).
According to this ISO Standard, the principles of integration of environmental aspects in product development are part of the strategy of a company and of the products. Environmental issues should be integrated as soon as possible in the development of a product. These aspects must cover the whole lifecycle of the product and the approach must be multi-criteria (impacts on air, on water, land, etc.).
On the management aspect, it is up to management to set targets and objectives relating to environmental aspects of products. These objectives must be measurable by using indicators. Management must adopt a proactive and multidisciplinary approach while providing support and resources needed to achieve the identified objectives.
Finally, on aspects related to the product, the standard emphasizes the importance of identifying the significant environmental impacts of its life cycle. The integration of all these environmental aspects helps avoid any transfer of impacts.
Implementation of the process
The implementation of the integration of environmental aspects in product development is based on a continuous improvement approach:
– Planning: Setting goals in relation to the significant environmental aspects of a product.
– Design: Finding ways to achieve goals.
– Evaluation: Evaluation of a product compared to the established objectives.
– Production: Implementation of the solutions.
Standard ISO 14020: « Environmental labels and declarations – general principles »
This is a standard on the guidelines of environmental communication. The objective of this standard is to encourage consumer demand towards products with limited impact on the environment by providing consumer reliable and accurate information. It also aims to encourage improved environmental performance of products and regulate how companies value their efforts to design their products.
The standard sets out nine general principles for making an environmental declarartion of a product.
Among these principles, the most important are:
– The declaration must be relevant, accurate, verifiable and not be likely to deceive the recipient.
– The declaration must be based on scientific methodology to present accurate and reproducible results.
– The declaration must be transparent, especially on the procedures and methodologies used.
– The establishment of the declaration must be a consultative and participatory process with stakeholders.
– Finally, once established, the statement must be available, especially for the buyer, allowing it to make an informed choice.
Others standards of series ISO 14020
It is related to other standards of the ISO 14020 series.
– ISO 14021 for self-declared environmental claims
– ISO 14024 for environmental labelling (Eco-labels)
– ISO 14025 for environmental declaration (Eco-profiles)
Standard ISO 22628: « Road vehicles – Recyclability and recoverability – Calculation method »
This is a standard describing the methodology for calculating recyclability and recoverability of a product. Originally intended for automotive industry, this standard is often used in other sectors because it offers a methodology for calculation that can serve as reference and the definition of a number of terms related to recycling of a product.
The calculation takes place in four stages: pre-treatment, dismantling, metal separation and separation of non-metallic residue.
The standard is based primarily on the definition of terms related to the end of life of a product:
“Recyclability rate”: this is reusable components and recyclable materials.
“Recoverability rate”: this is reusable components, recyclable materials and energy recoverable materials.
To consider an element (or part) as reusable or recyclable, it is necessary to consider several criteria as discussed by Van Schaik & Reuter (A. van Schaik and M.A. Reuter – 2010):
– The accessibility: it is to ensure that the item is not encapsulated by something else. The element is it accessible from outside of the product? Or is it located in the centre of the product, within a subset?
– The fastening method: how the element is attached to the rest of the product? This element can be screwed, welded, glued, clipped, etc..
– Dismantling techniques used: Is that element will manually removed, will it recovered after a stage of partial disassembly or grinding?
Only the assessment of all of these criteria can determine whether if an item is recyclable or reusable. Otherwise, the item can not be taken into account in calculating the recyclability rate of the product.
If the concept of recycling takes account of constituent materials, it also includes the existing recycling technologies. Example: If a thermoplastic polymer is theoretically recyclable, in fact, only few large families really are for reasons of costs, deposits, opportunities or others.
Limits of the standard
Although widely used, this standard must however be used wisely, especially in calculating recyclability of a product. Indeed, the performance of the recycling process used is not taken into account. Example: for 1 kg of material entering a recycling process, there is no creation of 1kg of recycled material but 0.9kg or less (A. van Schaik, and M.A. Reuter (2004)).
Another point, the sequence of steps of recycling is based on what is done for end of life vehicles. Now regarding WEEE, these steps may be different or not applicable (e.g. extraction of the tires)
ISO standard series 14020:
ISO Standard 14062:
ISO Standard 22628:
– A. van Schaik, and M.A. Reuter (2004): The time-varying factors influencing the recycling rate of products. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, Vol. 40(4), pp. 301-328
– A. van Schaik and M.A. Reuter (2010): Dynamic modelling of E-waste recycling system performance based on product design. Minerals Engineering, Vol. 23, pp. 192-210