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seeba Global Resource CfSD Logo

Introduction to seeba

seeba for business

seeba is the electronics programme for the Centre for Sustainable Design.

seeba organises workshops & training, and provides information on eco-design, supply chain management and end-of-life management. seeba aims to help businesses and others cut through the confusion and obtain up-to-date information and know-how from industry experts and policy-makers on 'Producer Responsibility' developments affecting the electronics and sector and related areas.

seeba exists to:

  • provide a business platform for information exchange on 'producer responsibility' issues
  • disseminate high quality information on 'producer responsibility' issues relating to the development and management of products and services within the electronics sector.

seeba provides four core services:

  • workshops
  • training
  • online information services
  • contract event management

seeba is supported by a high calibre Advisory Board with representatives from business and government. seeba has received financial assistance from the Environment Agency and South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

producer responsibilty

What is producer responsibility?

"Considering the life cycle of a product from manufacture until the end of its useful life, producers, material suppliers, trade, consumers and public authorities share specific waste management responsibilities. However it is the product manufacturer who has a predominant role since he takes key decisions concerning his product which largely determine its waste management potential."

Extract from the EU Community Strategy on Waste Management, 1996


'"The objective of [producer responsibility] is that by making producers financially responsible for their products when these become waste, an upstream effect is created, which leads to design for the environment, considering the durability, repairability or upgrading, disassembly, recycling of the product. In addition through the eco-design, the reuse of resources and separate collection, hazardous substances contained in the [product] are prevented from entering into the environment in an uncontrolled way."

Extract from European Parliament Opinion on proposed directive on waste electrical and electronic equipment - 1 March 2001

Producer Responsibility is also known as:

  • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
  • Product Take-Back
  • Product Stewardship

Producer Responsibility is one of the fastest growing areas of business concern over environmental risk, legal compliance and corporate responsibility. seeba aims to help businesses and others cut through the confusion and obtain up-to-date information and know-how from industry experts and policy-makers on 'Producer Responsibility' developments.

 eco-design

Eco-design is about the integration of environmental considerations into product design and development. Eco-design can reduce costs, improve functionality, and help improve the quality of our environment. Eco-design includes issues such as:

  • design to minimise life cycle environmental impacts of the equipment,
  • design to minimise waste,
  • design for upgrading, maintenance, repair, disassembly, reuse and waste management,
  • design for minimal emissions and energy consumption during the use phase,
  • design for the optimal life cycle duration of the equipment

 
Environmental issues are increasingly being considered in product design and development driven by a range of issues including customer and supply chain pressures, competitiveness, new standards and guidelines such as IS0 14001 and ISO TR 14062, and through cost saving opportunities in relation to materials and energy. However, the systematic management of eco-design is a new issue, and is still in its infancy.

seeba, the regional initiative of The Centre for Sustainable Design, is a leading edge source of know-how and information on developments in the area of eco-design within the UK and internationally. Seeba provides access to the latest tools and methodologies for implementing eco-design within businesses, and has developed the Smart ecoDesign training programme (both for in-house training and in electronic format) aimed at the eco-design needs of companies in the electronics sector and their supply chains. The ten modules build on the experience and the success of the EU-funded ETMUEL (Eco-design and training for manufacture, use and 'end of life' for SMEs) project which attracted over 400 participants from the electronics sector in the UK. Via the ETMUEL programme seeba provides tools and training for assisting SMEs in implement eco-design for manufacturing, use and end-of-life.

seeba is linked with The Network for Electronic Product Design (NEPD), which was founded by The Centre in 1996 with original support from Dell Europe. NEPD aimed to facilitate discussion and disseminate information, new ideas and thinking in relation to the eco-design implications of the design of electronic products.

 reuse, recycle, recover

"The waste hierarchy suggests that:

  • the most effective environmental solution may often be to reduce the generation of waste
    i.e. reduction;
  • where further reduction is not practicable, products and materials can sometimes be used again, either for the same or a different purpose: re-use;
  • failing that, value should be recovered from waste, through recycling, composting or energy recovery from waste;
  • only if none of the above offer an appropriate solution should waste be disposed of."
    (UK Waste Strategy 2000)

 
Re-use of a waste or end-of-life product is a type of recycling but in reality is seen as a preferable alternative to 'recycling' as that term is technically understood, since 'recycling' may in fact involve the using further resources (e.g. energy) during the recycling process, resulting in a greater (and not necessarily benign) environmental impact.

Recycling is a form of recovery but is often seen as a separate, and more benign activity from e.g. energy recovery. It involves collecting and sorting waste materials, and processing those materials into products or materials which can then be re-sold. In other words, converting waste into a material, product or component which can be used again.

Recovery - energy recovery (otherwise known as waste-to-energy or incineration) is another kind of recovery involving the recovery of latent energy within the waste materials / products. Composting is a further form of recovery.

Reducing the amount of waste generated at source (e.g. reducing the weight of packaging), re-using and / or recycling products, components and materials wherever possible and recovering the latent energy from waste materials all feature in "producer responsibility".

seeba is actively involved in facilitating discussions within industry networks to find practical, technology-based solutions for promoting cost effective reuse, recycling and recovery.

eSCM

"Increasingly supply chain pressure is being exerted by business through contract specifications and procurement policies reflecting the need to reduce waste and cut costs, for example by minimising the handling of packaging waste. Equally in trying to meet other targets, producers are stimulating new techniques which use less material - and hence give rise to less waste. For example, to achieve higher fuel efficiencies in their vehicles, motor manufacturers are specifying lighter body parts and engines using less, thinner gauged or lighter metal, and alloys that can be recycled at the end of a vehicle's life."
(UK Waste Strategy 2000)

 
Businesses operating in the sectors such as electronics and automotive are currently experiencing new major trends:

  • Increasing pressure from environmental legislation
  • A significant shift toward global sourcing of components and sub-assemblies, as well as manufacturing, assembly and distribution.

The electronics sector, for example, is coming under increasing legislative pressure to reduce the environmental impacts of electronics products throughout their life cycle; legislative instruments aimed at reducing energy consumption, such as mandatory labelling schemes, already exist in many countries. At the same time, there is a trend toward specialisation and global outsourcing. This means the global sourcing not only of raw materials and components, but also of core functions, such as manufacturing, assembly, logistics and servicing. The result is long and complex global supply networks.

So, for organisations to manage these environmental impacts in the face of increasing legislative and market pressure, it will require not only improving the environmental performance of their own operations, but also working with companies within their supply network to improve the environmental performance of the entire network.

To do this requires new tools and approaches that penetrate deeply into supply networks. seeba aims to make these tools available to businesses via our workshops and training solutions, and via the seeba web site.

 seeba events

seeba is well known for its highly informative "legislative update" workshops, as well as hands-on its practitioner update workshops and annual conferences. We utilise high quality experts from within industry itself, as well as policy-makers from government, regulators and legal / technical experts.

Workshops cover legislative updates on 'producer responsibility' issues in the electronics, automotive and packaging arenas, and also practical sessions focusing on eco-design as well as the practicalities of implementing producer responsibility.

Half day legislative update workshops are generally timed to take place between 2:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. and normally take place at the home of the Centre for Sustainable Design, which is based at the Farnham Campus of The Surrey Institute of Art and Design, University College. Full day workshops and the annual conference are often held at other locations and normally take place between 9.30am and 4.30pm

Over 450 organisations have attended the 100+ seminars, conferences and training courses organised by the Centre and its networks.

There is excellent access to Farnham: by train - approximately 50 minutes from Waterloo; by road there is good access via the A3 and M3; by air both Gatwick and Heathrow are an estimated 60-minute taxi journey away.

Details of future seeba events, as well as summaries of past events can be found on the seeba web site


 

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