A New Way to Gauge Electronics’ Responsible Recycling

Chris Cleet photo

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.

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12 comments
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    An organization I'm invelvod with is having a convention this Sept and we are collecting old cell phones there and going to used them for refurbishing and give them to soldiers.
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    Inspiring video! I'm glad the custodians are inluedcd as part of the solution. The 2 schools you used as examples are excellent schools with strong PTAs that do a lot of fundraising. I bring this up b/c these schools have the necessary equipment to do recycling successfully. Most of the public schools in the City don't have the resources to get recycling done. How can they be better equipped?
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  • Leonice Sun., September 29, 4:08 PM
    I use recycled paper too. I once prenitd out everything but now only do it when I want to edit a story etc. I have a huge pile of paper waiting to be recycled. But yes, it is important to check because I once sent out a story to a magazine. It came back, rejected, and I cringed with embarrassment to discover I hadn't used fresh, new paper but some old stories and naff poetry that really were rubbish. No wonder it was rejected!
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