Microelectronics International, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp 32-36, 2006

Impact of Environmental Regulations on Green Electronics Manufacture

Michael. Pecht
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Richard Ciocci
The Pennsylvania State University,
West Harrisburg Pike,
Middletown, PA


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to investigate the electronic industry's reaction to environmental regulations specifically in terms of lead-free solders and halogen-free flame-retardants (FRs).
Design/methodology/approach - This work achieves its objective by discussing the various international regulations pertaining to electronics manufacturing and relating the industry reactions to those regulations. The electronics industry is pursuing lead-free solders and halogen-free FRs, in part due to regulations. However, the paper includes examples of how the industry is successful in implementing environmentally friendly changes.
Findings - The authors compared regulations from Japan, the European Union, and the US. While the regulations themselves vary in scope, industry actions to find alternatives do have common purposes. Electronics manufacturers recognize that environmentally motivated changes are beneficial in terms of waste minimization. Regardless of the regulatory motivation, minimization does lead to energy and economic efficiency.
Practical implications - Electronics manufacturers that are interested in green design will benefit from understanding present regulations. They will also benefit from the included examples of product and process improvement for the purpose of environmental compatibility. The paper includes specific examples of material alternatives to banned substances..
Originality/value - This paper derives its perspective from a similar review of literature and company findings that the authors completed in 2001. As refinement of the regulations has continued, the electronics industry has developed improvements in basic materials and processes.

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