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Pollution Prevention and Control Technologies for Plating Operations

Section 5 - Substitute Technologies


EPA defines product changes for pollution prevention purposes as: changes in the composition or use of the intermediate or end products performed by the manufacturer with the purpose of reducing waste from manufacture, use, or ultimate disposal of the products (ref. 302).

The responsibility of product changes falls mostly on the manufacturer because they have control over the design and specification of the product. Unfortunately, when products and product components are processed by subcontractors, such as electroplating job shops, the effects of poor designs are felt by others. As discussed in Section 1, the majority of plating shops surveyed during the NCMS project were job shops. Not surprisingly, most of these shops either did not respond to the question of product changes or they indicated that this section of the survey was not applicable to them. This attitude is an important environmental disconnect between designers and platers which has been identified in several documents relating to environmental impacts of the electronics industry (ref. 518, 519). However, a number of job shops indicated that they do have some input on the design of the parts that they plate. In an effort to convey the actual attitudes of the respondents, actual responses to the product changes question are printed in this section in their entirety. To differentiate between the responses provided by captive and job shops, the captive shop responses are printed in bold type (includes all shops that declared themselves 1% or more captive).

The responses are divided into two groups, negative and positive responses.

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