It stands for Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, a product registration that helps consumers identify “greener” electronics.

Initially intended for PCs and displays, the EPEAT rating system was created more than six years ago and today is used by eight national governments, including the U.S. While some describe EPEAT as a rating tool, it is most similar to an ecolabel. A trademark green check denotes a product that has achieved EPEAT Product Registration.

Last month, it was expanded to include printers, copiers and other imaging equipment.

In addition to providing consumers with a tool, it was also intended to provide marketplace rewards for innovation by clearly recognizing products that reduce environmental and health impacts.

To achieve EPEAT Registration, a device must meet at least 33 environmental performance criteria. A product can achieve a higher rating by meeting up to 26 additional criteria. Rating points include the use of recycled and recyclable materials, design for recycling, energy efficiency, packaging and corporate performance.

When EPEAT was expanded to include printers, copiers and multifunction devices last month, Xerox showcased 19 products that achieved EPEAT Registration.  The company is committed to seeking EPEAT for its other products.

Another value of EPEAT is that it creates a culture of judging the environmental superiority of a product on the impacts across its entire life cycle and not just one phase, such as the product use, which has traditionally been the focus.

Will you look for the EPEAT check when you’re shopping for a printer?