IEC Technical Committee (TC) 111 brings together engineers, technology experts and scientists to help industry to clean up. Their work is essential in the fight against e-waste, while aiding industry to meet legislative requirements on toxic substances control.
Since its creation in 2004, IEC TC 111 has published a number of crucial International Standards relating to the environment. It is preparing for a future where recycling in a circular economy could well become the norm, while the recovery of rare earth metals — a process known as urban mining — may become widespread.
Before they can even begin to think of recycling the various materials they use in their goods, suppliers need to know and report the substances in their products so as to conform to the various pieces of legislations that exist across the globe. A key publication is IEC 62474 which establishes the requirements for reporting the substances and materials included in electronic and electrical products.
It also facilitates the transfer and processing of this data by defining a common data format which applies to exchanges in the supply chain. The Standard comes with a validated open database, which includes a list of substances, substance groups and common material classes.
Other major publications are the IEC 62321 family of Standards, which defines standardized methods for determining the levels of potentially toxic substances in electrical and electronic products, by using various methods of measurement.
Prepared by Working Group (WG) 3, the publications cover ways of measuring several different substances. One of these is spectrometry, for instance.
The environmentally-conscious design of products has been a hot topic for many years. For instance, it is viewed as one of the ways of significantly reducing pollution by limiting the use of non-recyclable materials.
Yet another important Standard issued by IEC TC 111 is IEC 62430 which provides guidelines for minimizing the adverse environmental impact of devices throughout their lifecycle. The publication defines environmentally-conscious design for all electrical and electronic products, for instance which materials are used, the quantity of energy consumed to make them, as well as their rate of recyclability.
IEC TC 111 is holding its plenary meeting during the IEC General Meeting (GM) in Busan at the end of October.