Getting rid of end-of-life electronics is more than just an inconvenience – it’s a world-wide disposal dilemma. Globally speaking, we’re generating close to seven kilograms of used electronics per capita per year. And while that number is expected to rise by more than a third toward the end of this decade, less than 20% of obsolete electronics are currently being recycled.
Why so much e-waste?
It goes without saying that we’ve become reliant on a wide range of electronic gadgets both personally and professionally. But demand aside, there are two big reasons why we continue to manufacture electronics at such a furious pace:
Planned or built-in product obsolescence that stems from ongoing design changes, the use of inferior materials, or a general failure to account for reparability when designing the product in the first place.
Our upgrade-focused, disposal-oriented economy often means it costs less to replace electronic items than it does to repair them. There are powerful forces at work encouraging all of us to get the latest and greatest device.
Not only is our volume of e-waste extending well beyond anything a few extra landfill sites can fix, many waste electronics contain contaminants that can damage our air, soil, and water – and hurt us in the process. Lead and mercury, for example, cause neurological delays.
Exploring the R2 Recycling Standard
When thinking about IT disposition, consider that virtually all of your organization’s obsolete electronics – from cell phones to servers – can be repaired, reused, or effectively recycled. Seeking out recyclers that are certified with the international R2 recycling standard guarantees your business electronics will be disposed of in a secure, convenient, and environmentally respectful way.
Initiated by the US Environmental Protection Agency more than a decade ago, the R2 Standard (Responsible Recycling practices for Use in Accredited Certifications Programs) was three years in the making, and is the result of a successful collaboration between public, private, and non-profit sectors.
Originally released in 2008, the R2 recycling standard is managed and maintained by SERI (Sustainable Electronics Recycling International), a non-profit organization that works with a global coalition of partners and stakeholders to:
- raise awareness of electronics repair and recycling issues around the world,
- improve safe recycling practices, and increase global access to recycling, and
- administer and continually advance the R2 Standard
A large part of SERI’s certification efforts involve creating market incentives for recycling facilities that directly benefit their employees, their communities, and the environment we all share.
Why You Should Partner with an R2 Recycler
The R2 Standard provides a common framework for recyclers where refurbishing processes, documentation, data handling practices, and safety measures are concerned. To date, some 600 facilities in more than 20 countries have achieved R2 certification. And to keep reuse and recycling procedures on the right track, these organizations are audited annually, and thoroughly, by an independent third party.
- data security,
- occupational health and safety,
- environmental compliance, and
Thanks to SERI’s commitment to the ongoing development of the R2 Standard, every new version is furthering our journey toward responsible recycling. Revolution and Shift Recycling are accredited to the latest version of R2 – the R2:2013. If your current electronics recycling partner can’t say the same, it might be time for a switch.