Purchaser Profile

King County, Washington
Municipal Government
INF 8-9 (AEO): Empowering Development and Implementation of Strategies for E-Waste Reduction (Issued by the Office of the King County Executive)

Karen Hamilton, King County Environmental Purchasing Program

In 2012, the primary computer vendor supplied the County with 4,156 EPEAT® compliant products at a cost of approximately $3.21 million. All desktops and workstations met the EPEAT® gold rating, meeting the 23 required criteria, plus at least 75 percent of the optional criteria. Monitors and notebooks were mostly gold, with the remaining purchases meeting the silver rating.

WHEREAS, this Order requires and empowers all King County agencies wihtin the executive branch of county government to include a preference for EPEAT standards to be used by vendors in teh supply and disposal of desktop computers, laptop computers and monitors; and WHEREAS, as of June 2006 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the voluntary manufacturing standard, EPEAT, an environmental procurement tool designed to help institutional purchasers in the public and private sectors evaluate, compare and select desktop computers, laptop computers and monitors based on their environmental attributes; and, WHEREAS, the King County Executive strongly supports and will aggressively implement toxics reduction/phase out; materials efficiency; energy efficiency; extended product life and sustainable end-of-life management; and environmentally sound manufacturing to protect its residents now and in the future by strongly encouraging our computer vendors to meet or exceed the EPEAT requirements; and, WHEREAS, the King County Executive has resolved that King County will continue to be a national leader in technology, recycling, energy conservation and the implementation of environmental improvements; and, WHEREAS, the King County Executive has resolved that King County shall move to an “environmentally preferable” computer standard, and WHEREAS, the King County Executive intends to help spur the manufacturers of desktop computers, laptop computers and monitors to implement product design changes that reduce environmental and health impacts of electronics throughout the lifecycle of those products; and, WHEREAS, in future county procurements of desktop computers, laptop computers and monitors, the King County Executive will strongly encourage vendors to meet a minimum of 23 criteria in the performance categories as established by EPEAT. The categories include; Environmentally Sensitive Materials, Materials Selection, Design for End of Life, Product Longevity/Life Cycle Extension, Energy Conservation, End of Life Management, Corporate Performance, and Packaging; and, WHEREAS, desktop computers, laptop computers and monitors that do not meet the minimum EPEAT compliance may release more lead, cadmium, mercury and other heavy metals and hazardous substances that may contaminate groundwater and pollute the air if these products are disposed of improperly; and, WHEREAS, the EPA estimates that, of the 3.2 million tons of electronics that become obsolete annually, only 11 percent of discarded electronics are recycled; and, WHEREAS, the EPA estimates that, in the next five years, purchases of EPEAT –registered computers will reduce hazardous waste by 4 million pounds and save enough energy to power two million homes; and, WHEREAS, the county over the past several years has been a leader in making its residents aware of the hazards of disposing computer equipment in our landfills and in providing information regarding reuse and recycling alternatives; and, WHEREAS, in June 2003 King County established and implemented for use by all county agencies an Electronics Recycling Program for the recycling of servers, computers, laptop computers, printers, monitors, televisions, batteries and other electronic equipment; and, WHEREAS, in October 2005, the county enacted a ban on the disposal of computers, TVs, monitors and cell phones at all King County solid waste transfer stations and in the garbage to encourage recycling and conservation of valuable resources; and, WHEREAS, the King County Executive is committed to making the maximum effort to produce a significant reduction in the amount of hazardous and toxic waste deposited in its landfills, and to ensuring residents of King County and the State of Washington are provided a clean, safe environment; and, WHEREAS, King County encourages the recycling of TVs, monitors , computers, cell phones and other electronic equipment and, in 2000, King County developed the Take it Back Program, a network of businesses accepting electronics for recycling for use by King County residents and businesses; and, NOW, THEREFORE, I Ron Sims, King County Executive, do hereby order and direct King County agencies to develop new contract and surplus procedures that include a comprehensive guideline for all existing computers, laptop computers and monitors as they reach end-of-life; contract language and guidelines that encourage county agencies to purchase new electronic products that meet or exceed the requirements established under the EPEAT program. Policies and procedures outlining how the county will implement this order shall be presented to the Office of Information and Resource Management (OIRM) no later than one year after the effective date of this Executive Order. Dated this 1st day of June, 2007.

*EPEAT Purchasing Tier indicates how many EPEAT categories are specified in the organization’s purchasing agreements