Responsible Recycling — Why Consider R2?
Have you thought about what happens to your old cell phone, television set, or computer after you have thrown it away or donated it to a vendor that collects materials for free? If you are the management representative for an electronics manufacturer, research laboratory, or waste management/recycling business, have you thought about the effects that electronics might have on the environment if they are disposed of improperly?
Around the world, 20 to 50 million tons of electronic waste were generated in 2007, and that same year, the United States, in particular, was responsible for generating at least three million tons. According to the EPA, the US Government alone is currently disposing of 10,000 computer monitors per week! All this “techno-trash” is either making its way into local landfills or getting exported to countries like China, Pakistan, India, Vietnam, Ghana, and Nigeria with the expectation that it will be recycled. However, all too often, rather than be recycled or disposed of properly, this exported waste is left heaped in dumps where it poses a significant threat to the local people and the environment in general. Globally, this enormous e-waste problem has a potentially disastrous future, especially as computer and cell phone use continues to grow throughout the world.
As consumers and corporations become increasingly conscious and concerned about recycling and protecting the environment, the Responsible Recycling Practices Standard, known as R2, is a timely and significant new tool for addressing this serious challenge. Developed by a group of recycling stakeholders and facilitated by the EPA, the R2 accreditation standard is a set of voluntary principles and guidelines designed to promote and assess responsible practices for electronics recyclers. R2 requires implementing a management system which is accountable for practices affecting worker health and safety, security, the environment, and the downstream management, both domestically and internationally, of end-of-life electronic material and equipment. It encompasses rather than replaces the legal obligations of electronics recyclers. Additionally, R2 is particularly focused on electronics which contain cathode ray tubes, circuit boards, items containing mercury/PCBs, and batteries, and seeks to ensure that these materials are not incinerated or landfilled.
Key benefits of R2 certification and implementation:
- Promotes safe and effective recovery and reuse of electronic equipment and materials
- Guards downstream control of the recycling chain
- Minimizes environmental and public health risks
- Demonstrates compliance with domestic and international laws
- Minimizes liability and encourages reduced insurance costs for recyclers
- Assists original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s) with due diligence for their end-of-life electronics
- Instills public confidence through certified third party review
R2 is right for people and right for the environment. Could it be right for your company? “Being Green” just got easier; R2 serves as a solid business strategy that not only attracts the attention of environmentally concerned consumers but also positively impacts your bottom line. Like most management system standards, R2 certification requires a two-stage audit process. A recycling or waste company seeking R2 certification will have a clear advantage from already having a certified ISO 9001, ISO 14001, or OHSAS 18001 management system in place. — we’ll answer your questions!
- R2 Transition Letter
- Responsible Recycling (R2) – Presentation – FREE
- R2 Technical Auditor Training Presentation and Lessons Learned
- Responsible Recycling (R2) – Clients
Other useful links for R2:
- ISRI releases video touting benefits of e-scrap recycling
- Significant Changes and Transition Requirements to R2:2013