R2 Certification is facilitated by U.S. EPA and is recognized worldwide as a voluntary set of best practices for the electronic waste industry. It has emerged as the industry-wide standard for controlling the disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) in a sustainable manner, in recent years.
R2 in R2 Recycling Standards stand for Responsible Recycling. These standards are for controlling the disposal of electronic waste in a sustainable manner.
How R2 Certification does help a company?
Obtaining R2 Certification helps a company not only in teaching it important best practices but also shows their clients that the company has chosen to do what is right and that the company has chosen to do what is right for the planet.
How is R2 helpful?
It states how to dispose of electronic waste in a sustainable manner.
It implements necessary controls to achieve and maintain compliance.
It helps in streamlining the processes
It encourages and supports the best practice and approach in recycling electronic waste (e-waste)
It improves the efficiency of electronics refurbishment and recycling program.
It makes an impression on the clients of the company that it is dedicated towards the environment and towards the planet.
What are the problems that arise due to E-Waste?
Old and discarded electronic wastes and devices are posing an increasingly significant problem in waste management. As seen in America, it is the fastest growing municipal waste. The devices which contain hazardous focus materials require special processing to dispose of correctly. So, in short, electronic waste possesses a great threat to our environment.
Along with possessing environmental impact, electronic waste squanders money and assets. Many cell phones contain precious metals like gold, silver, copper, etc. And these cell phones can be easily recycled but every year these are thrown in a huge amount which is the reason that electronic wastes squander money and assets.
What is R2 Certification and how to get it?
R2 Certification is facilitated by U.S. EPA and is facilitated worldwide as a voluntary set of best practices for electronic waste disposal and Management. It has emerged as industry-wide standards for controlling the disposal of electronic waste in a sustainable manner.
Accreditation of R2 certification requires the implementation of a system to track the downstream management of electronic equipment.
Attaining R2 recycling certification is a multi-step process including an initial review of the system you have in place at the policy level, a formal process audit which confirms that these policies are implemented on a day to day basis and the last stepped is a final review by the certification committee.
Why is R2 Certification important?
There are very few laws that guide recyclers on how they should handle electronics processing, including how they should protect their workers and the environment. There are almost no laws prohibiting the exports of toxic e-waste
to developing countries.
For this reason, the more responsible companies in this industry wanted to develop voluntary standards, so that they could show customers that they are meeting a higher level of performance by being certified to these voluntary standards by independent, trained auditors.
What are these Standards?
There are currently two standards for the recycling process. These are E-Stewards and R2. The e-Stewards are known as e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment.
R2, as has been explained above, is known as Responsible Recycling Practices.
A brief about e-Stewards
E-Stewards are an initiative by the Basel Action Network in direction of the problem that is the biggest in the electronics sector. The main problem is that developed countries dismantle their e-waste in the developing countries which possess great threat in their developing scenario.
Is R2 stronger or e-Stewards?
At present, e-Stewards are the strongest in handling and maintaining the e-wastes, including the toxic wastes. It is the only standard that is endorsed and supported by environmental organizations, including the Electronics Takes Back Coalition, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC.
R2 isn’t as strong as compared to e-Steward because of its incompatibility of handling the toxic wastes. This is the standard supported by the recycling industry association.
R2 fails to adequately address the three biggest problems in the electronics recycling industry:
Miniaturization of electronics
When switching from RQO to R2 the main problem that is faced is the manpower. As in the R2 standards a company needs to find their own downstream vendors, audit them on their own and prove to them they were in the compliance of the standards even if they were not certified themselves.
Before becoming a client it is really difficult to find downstream vendors to send out the information.
Auditing is not an easy process and requires skills and trained professionals but not every company has dedicated coordinators for the process and even if they have, they provide very unique services that they no longer want to deal with individual companies.
Miniaturization of electronics is the problem related to dealing with the used electronics that are being disposed of by the people in huge amounts.
The new electronics require more time in getting dismantled and as there is an increase in the use of hazardous materials like mercury and LED, it is very dangerous as well.
Payout is also the main problem in miniaturization as the oldest method of payout by wait is no longer applicable in the newer devices or newer electronics because these devices are light in weight but much more labor intensive.
The method has now been adopted for payout is the stewardship programs, but it too is not up to date and doesn’t deal with the problem as it should.
Although the companies which are complying with the R2 standard of recycling are very much positive about the reuse feature of this standard it cannot be trusted as it has faults in this area of reusing.
The idea of reusing is not as such promising because people living in developing countries or even in developed countries would not like to buy used products as the technology and devices keep on updating and the prices tend to get lower in short span of time which gives the users the reason to buy unused and new products which are much more better than the used ones.
Also R2 standard has a very stringent and complicated process for the companies which have to deal with selling their products to the reuse market which adds to the problem of reusing.
A Brief History of the Recycling Industry
The development of recycling industry is very recent and it did not exist till the 2000s and even if it did it was not placed in the career placement programs and was not much developed or paid attention to.
The Technological Growth during the ’90s
It wasn’t common for people to buy computers as their cost was high and along with the printers and other software it became even higher. Even if people opted for buying computers, they were not in favor of giving up their computers for recycling easily.
People were not even aware of disposable electronic devices until the end of the ’90s. Till the end of the ’90s, there was a rapid growth in the technological sector and people were now aware of various Technologies and also the companies were developing new technologies every day.
The computers had changed from big chunky ones to lighter and compact forms also people got accustomed to portable CD players and then Walkman’s and then iPods. This was a huge change in the technology sector.
The major change witnessed was Cellphones. People used landlines but after the introduction of cellphones, no one bothered about using them anymore. After that, cell phones also have undergone various changes and came up with new technologies.
Now, these technological changes came with their own problems that were the disposal of electronic waste and this led to the development of the recycling industry for electronic waste.
Early days of recycling
The computers and other devices were often sent to countries like China and India and other developing countries from the developed ones which were what led to the trend of reuse in electronics.
But these developing countries also did not pay much heed to the Technologies that were sent from overseas. The products of the electronics sent were either used in a very small amount and the remaining ones were dismantled for getting out the precious metals they had in them like gold, silver, copper, Platinum, etc. And after getting out the precious metals the remaining parts were sent to landfills which were hazardous as no proper care was taken while they were sent there.
The much-awaited Recycling Programs
The responsible recycling was developed in Canada in 2004 when the manufacturers and retailers showed their concern regarding the sending of electronic waste overseas.
It was done in 2004 when the first responsible recycling program was developed which was ERS (Electronics
Recycling Standard) to look for the illegal export of e-waste.
In 2011, these programs were brought together to form the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA).
Introduction of R2
R2 published its first edition in 2008 and was revised and updated to its latest form in 2013.
R2 gained popularity not only due to the demand of clients to deal with certified companies but also due to the mandatory provision which was imposed that in order to retain the RQO status, the companies need to be R2 certified from December 2016.
Future of Recycling
Three trends that are actually “good for the planet”:
Firstly, there are downsizing, i.e. making electronic devices smaller and smaller.
Secondly, life extension, which means the turnover cycles of many devices are beginning to lengthen.
Thirdly, there is a certain general trend towards a sharing economy.
These three points were put forward by Dr. Bridle saying that the upcoming years will remain challenging for the recycling industry but these trends will prove to be very much helpful for Recyclers.
Although the sharing economy is a good idea, it definitely also has a downside for e-waste recyclers, as it reduces the number of new devices that need to be produced and therefore also the volume of end-of-life devices that need to be disposed of.
In the coming future of the Recycling Industry, the Recyclers need to position themselves to remain competitive going forward. But there still remains a great deal of uncertainty.
Another concern is about the emergence of two parallel worlds. The parallel worlds comprise of policymakers and the operators. The policy makers aim for Sustainable Society with new ideas and on the other hand, the operators experience not enough support in improving the obligation of existing legislation.
With the emerging future, there is much need to focus and pay attention to the recycling and dismantling of electronic waste under proper provisions and care.
Escrap is such a company which provides a solution for such problems and has worldwide programs. This company along with dealing with electronic recycling also deals with IT Assets and data destruction. Due to the wide Network and their approach all over the world, they not only deal with the local Industries but also cover National Industries as well.
Their services include covering up sectors like government, Healthcare, Municipal, residents, data centers, banking, etc. Along with the sectors, this company also deals with various other sectors and also provides help and solution for the residents regarding the electronic waste and dismantling of electronic products in a safer way.
The services provided by them include:
Desktop, Computer Dismantle
Punching and Shredding of Hard Drive
Processing of CRT TV and Glass
Safe and secure dismantling of LCD TV and Flat Screens
Options for the asset, Refurbishing electronic devices and products and also for their recycling
They also provide for Reverse logistics shredding (the process of moving goods from their typical final destination for the purpose of capturing value, or proper disposal.)
Escrap provides for Recycling of the following products:
Monitors- CRT’s and flat screens
Fax machines and Ventral office equipment
Televisions, projection TV
Stereo equipment’s, Games, PDA’s
Banking and financial equipment’s
Computers- CPU, laptops, mainframes and peripherals
Telephones, cell phones, and Telephone systems
Electronic circuit boards and components.
How does Escrap actually deal with your Electronics
The E-scrap company is within the precious metal industry and the extract out the precious metals like Silver, Gold, copper, Platinum, etc. from your electronics through responsible vendors and then bring back to the industry for the reuse of those precious metals. The copper wiring extracted from such electronic devices is used in the new devices formed. The nonusable parts are shredded and disposed of very carefully and with precision.