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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