United States
                     Environmental Protection
                         Pollution Prevention
                         and Toxics
                                        August 1998
Design  for the  Environment
Computer  Display  Project
 What Is Design for the
 EPA's Design for the Environment
 (DfE) Program is a voluntary initia-
 tive that forms partnerships with
 a variety of stakeholder groups in
 an effort to:
  Encourage businesses to incor-
   porate environmental concerns,
   in addition to the traditional cri-
   teria of cost and performance,
   into their decisions.
  Effect behavior change to facili-
   tate continuous environmental
 To accomplish these goals, the
 program uses EPA's expertise and
 leadership to evaluate the human
 health and environmental risks,
 performance, and cost of tradi-
 tional and alternative
 technologies, materials, and
 processes. DfE disseminates infor-
 mation on its work to all
 interested parties and helps busi-
 nesses implement cleaner
 technologies identified through the
 The program has formed coopera-
 tive partnerships with the
 following industries:
  Printed wiring board
  Computer display
  Garment and textile care
  Auto refinishing
  Industrial/institutional laundry
                               Assessing  Life-Cycle
          Why Is EPA Working
          With the Display
                      Each year, millions of
                      desktop computer moni-
                      tors are manufactured and sold worldwide.
                      Monitors that use cathode ray tubes (CRTs)
                      currently dominate the global marketplace, as
CRTs provide rich, high-resolution displays well-suited to a range of
          Flat panel displays (FPDs) have emerged on the electronics market as a
          replacement for CRTs in certain applications, primarily because FPDs
          are lighter, smaller, and more portable, and they consume less energy
          during operation. One type of FPD, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), are
          used primarily in notebook computers, but are beginning to move into
          the desktop market. The potential life-cycle environmental impacts of
          both CRTs and LCDs have not yet been adequately assessed.

          EPAs Design for the Environment (DfE) Program has entered into a vol-
          untary partnership with the electronics industry to evaluate the
          life-cycle environmental impacts, performance, and cost of CRT and
          FPD technologies  used for desktop computers (LCDs). The project will
          generate data to assist original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and
          suppliers in the electronics field to incorporate environmental consider-
          ations into their decision-making processes and identify areas for
          What Are the
          Project's Goals?
                   The primary purpose of the DfE Computer
                   Display Project is to evaluate the life-cycle envi-
                   ronmental impacts of FPDs and CRTs by
                   combining Cleaner Technologies Substitutes
Assessment (CTSA) and life-cycle assessment (LCA) approaches.
Developed under the DfE program, CTSAs evaluate and compare substi-
tute processes, products, or technologies, and generate data that allow
businesses to make environmentally informed choices. Human and eco-
logical risk, energy and resource use, performance, and costs are
evaluated in a CTSA.

LCAs examine the full life cycle of a product, from materials acquisi-
tion to manufacturing, use, and disposition. LCAs are comprehensive
methods for evaluating the full environmental impacts of a product

In this project, these two methodologies will be used to study display
technologies that perform  standard applications on 15- to 17-inch
                                            \Printed on paper that contains at least 20 percent postconsumer fiber.

desktop computer monitors. The technologies that
meet this criteria include CRTs and two types of thin-
film transistor active-matrix LCDs (twisted nematic
and in-plane switching). In addition to evaluating
environmental impacts, information on the relative
performance and cost of CRT and LCD technologies
will be collected from industry and summarized.

These evaluations will provide information to help
the electronics industry:

 Consider alternative technologies, materials, and
   processes that reduce releases of toxic chemicals,
   conserve resources, and lower risks to human
   health and the environment.

 Perform an improvement assessment of display
   technologies and their components.

 Meet the growing global demands for extended
   product responsibility.
What Kind of Work is
Being Conducted by
the Project Team?
                         Project participants
                         include display manu-
                         facturers, OEMs, trade
                         groups such as the U.S.
                         Display Consortium
(USDC) and Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA),
academic and research organizations, such as the
University of Tennessee (UT) and the
Microelectronics and Computer Technology
Corporation (MCC),  and public interest groups, like
the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

Under a grant from EPA, and with the assistance of
MCC, the CTSA/LCA study is being conducted by
UT s Center for Clean Products and Clean
Technologies. UT and other project participants are
evaluating the environmental impacts of display tech-
nologies throughout their entire life cycle. The team
will develop estimates of environmental impacts from
the following processes:

  Raw material extraction or acquisition

  Material processing

  Product manufacture
  Product use
  Disposition at end of life

UT and other project participants also will charac-
terize exposure and chemical risk from selected
chemicals in one or more life-cycle stages of the dis-
plays. This assessment will evaluate impacts on
human health and organisms in the environment.
The project team will summarize performance and
cost information from existing industry data. In
addition, the team will assemble as much relevant
technical data as possible from existing research.
The following studies are possible sources for project
team consideration:

  MCC s 1994 Electronics Industry Environmental
   Roadmap, which qualitatively identified general
   environmental issues and priority needs for reducing
   impacts from display screens, but was not quantita-
   tive and did not address all display life-cycle issues.

  A University of Michigan case study of the environ-
   mental performance of an active matrix LCD, which
   includes some preliminary life-cycle inventory data.

  A New Jersey Institute of Technology life-cycle
   assessment for television CRTs.

   1996 Update to: Research Report on the Visions of
   the Electronic Display Industry to the Year 2000,
   EIAJ (Electronic Industries Association of Japan).

  Research on personal computers (including dis-
   plays) conducted at the NEC  Resources and
   Environment Protection Labs and National
   Institute for Resources and Environment.

 The results from new studies as well as any analysis
generated on existing data will be disseminated to
industry OEMs, display manufacturers, and other
interested parties.
                                                                      How Can  I

                                                                      Get  More

                                                      To learn more about EPA s Df E Program or Df E
                                                      Computer Display Project, contact:
                                                      Pollution Prevention Information Clearinghouse
                                                      U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
                                                      401 M Street, SW. (7409)
                                                      Washington, DC 20460
                                                      Telephone: 202 260-1023
                                                      Fax: 202 260-4659
                                                      E-mail: ppic@epa.gov
                                                      You may also visit the DfE web site at