Recently, the new EU Ecolabel criteria for personal computers were published in the Official Journal of the European Union. They are valid for three years. They apply to portable computers, as well as tablet PCs with touch-sensitive screens. The document details 14 criteria, which cover all aspects of the product life cycle.
Energy savings are one of the most important aspects of the new criteria document. According to criterion 2, Computers should be delivered with default settings of 10 minutes to screen off, and 30 minutes to computer sleep. The Ethernet connection should have the capability of being turned off when not in use.
The criteria document also gives major importance to recycling. According to criterion 13, cardboard packaging should be made of at least 80% recycled materials, and plastic bags of at least 75% recycled materials or they should be biodegradable. Even the computer itself has its own criteria: according to criterion 8, a minimum of 10% of the external plastic case of the system unit, monitor and keyboard should have a post-consumer recycled content.
It also stresses the importance of user reparability: the computer should be designed to be easily disassembled and dismantled. Criterion 12 highlights the objective of lifetime extension that the EU Ecolabel sets for computers: they should be designed so that major components can be changed easily, and that the possibility exists to upgrade memory and connect the computer to external devices through at least 3 USB ports.