A New Way to Gauge Electronics’ Responsible Recycling
In my previous blog, I talked about the importance of standards, and how the Responsible Recycling (R2) standard set the bar for the safe recycling of electronics. When I wrote that blog, the R2 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was in the final stages of updating the original R2 Standard (R2:2008) to become the new, improved R2:2013 Standard. Since that blog, the R2 Board of Directors (which includes ITI’s Rick Goss) unanimously adopted R2:2013, with an effective date of July 1, 2013.
That day started an 18-month transition period during which all R2:2008 companies will need to meet the R2:2013 requirements.
The R2:2013 represents (and I’m not bandying hyperbole here) a quantum-leap forward for the environmentally sound, safe, and responsible recycling of electronics. The new standard:
- Has new requirements for a certified Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) Management System;
- Requires periodic legal audits to ensure the recycler’s legal compliance plan is being effectively implemented;
- Contains new testing and documentation requirements for devices going for reuse and repair; and,
- Includes clarified and expanded import and export requirements for focus materials or devices containing focus materials.
In addition, R2:2013 is the only recycling standard with personal-data destruction requirements, ensuring that you can safely send your computers to R2 certified recyclers without having to worry about identity theft. Also, as mentioned previously, R2:2013 is the only electronics recycling standard to meet all of the requirements for “voluntary, consensus standards” in OMB Circular A-119.
For the general public, R2:2013 provides an easy-to-identify way to ensure that your used electronics are being refurbished and recycled in the most environmentally-friendly way possible. Simply look for the R2 Certification Logo and you will be assured that your electronics are:
- Sent for refurbishment if possible;
- If refurbishment or repair is not an option, the materials in the device will be safely extracted for recycling; and,
- Whether refurbished or recycled, your personal data will be scrubbed using the most stringent methods currently available.
R2:2013 standard also provides value to ITI and our member companies. The standard makes locating and contracting with recyclers much easier and more efficient by:
- Allowing much of a manufacturer’s contract with a recycler to be audited by an independent third party;
- Decreasing costs to manufacturers by increasing competition amongst recyclers who are certified and meet enhanced EH&S requirements; and,
- Increasing transparency of downstream processes for focus materials to final disposition.
Currently, there are more than 300 R2 certified recyclers in 14 countries. To find a certified recycler, or for more information on the R2:2013 Standard, go to www.r2solutions.org.