About 10 years ago, a growing recognition by the Electronics Recycling industry of the need for safe standards and accountability set in motion the move toward certification for the electronics recycling industry. Through a multi-stakeholder process that included representatives from the US EPA, the recycling industry, original equipment manufacturers and other concerned parties, the safest and most sustainable practices for electronics recycling and reuse were identified for inclusion in what is called the R2 (Responsible Recycling) Standard. The R2 Standard was initially published in 2008, with an updated version released in 2013.
The R2 Standard provides a common set of processes, safety measures, and documentation requirements for businesses that repair and recycle used electronics. R2 is rigorously and independently audited, emphasizing quality, safety, and transparency.
Choosing the right electronics recycler to manage your company’s IT assets is a critically important decision. Selecting the wrong electronics recycler can mean exposing your company to data mismanagement and putting your company at unnecessary legal and financial risk. Contracting with an electronics recycler that is R2:2013 Certified means peace of mind in knowing that your company’s IT assets are being managed by a recycler that has demonstrated they have a system in place to properly handle materials according to the R2:2013 Standard.
Here are just a few examples of how R2:2013 Practices addresses these top corporate concerns that impact decision making when choosing the right IT asset disposal provider:
Provision 1: Environmental, Health, and Safety Management System
An environmental, health and safety management system (EHSMS) is the foundation upon which the R2 requirements rest. The EHSMS is the mechanism to continuously improve environmental, and health and safety performance.
Provision 2: Reuse, Recover Hierarchy of Responsible Management Strategies
The R2 Standard requires a written policy for managing used and end-of life electronic equipment based on a Hierarchy of Reuse, Materials Recovery and Energy Recovery or Land Disposal, which is only allowed “if no reuse or recycling options are viable”. The hierarchy is implemented in the operational procedures of each organization.
Provision 3: Legal Requirements
Identifying and complying with environmental, health & safety, data security and import/export legal requirements is an important provision of the R2 standard.
Provision 4: On-site Environmental, Health, and Safety
The goal of Provision 4 is to protect the recycler’s workforce, public health, and the environment. This includes identifying and controlling EH&S hazards, having the technical capability to process material and maintaining good housekeeping standards.
Provision 5: Focus Materials
R2:2013 requires the responsible management of Focus Materials throughout the recycling chain. Throughout the R2:2013 standard, various requirements are imposed on the need for qualification or “due diligence” of downstream vendors.
Provision 6: Reusable Equipment and Components
Reuse is the preferred management strategy for electronic devices under the R2 Standard.
Provision 7: Tracking Throughput
Provision 7 of the R2 Standard focuses on tracking throughput, including ways to track recyclable material, record keeping requirements, and other best practices.
Provision 8: Data Destruction
Data security and destruction is increasingly important. Provision 8 outlines data destruction requirements for R2 refurbishers and recyclers, and this outlines guidance on types of data-bearing materials, destruction and sanitization methods, and best-practices.
Provision 9: Storage
Properly storing used electronics is essential for compliance to the R2 Standard.