All “e-Cycling” companies are not created equal. Those with the proper credentials provide their customers peace of mind, while minimizing environmental harm.
A study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released in 2016 found that e-waste recycling companies that obtained third-party certifications from accredited e-waste management organizations, improved processes and reduced illegal trading and dumping globally. The study examined two certifying agencies and its stakeholders - The Responsible Recycling Standard for Electronics Recyclers, which is now Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI); and the e-Stewards Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment. The EPA determined that despite the limited scope of the study, the results were conclusive and convincing.
When choosing a partner to handle your e-waste needs, it’s imperative to stakeholders that said company adheres to all industry and statutory standards. E-waste recyclers with certifications in these areas become the top priority. Here are some of the certifications to look for when deciding on your e-Cycling provider.
R2 Solutions is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010. Its mission is to live in a world where old electronics are recycled and disposed of in a manner that promotes environmental sustainability and protects the health of humanity. SERI is the ANSI-accredited body that administers the R2:2013 Standard, the most recent version as of 2017.
R2:2013 is considered the premiere certification in the electronics recycling industry. It was developed via a three-year, multi-stakeholder collaborative effort. The EPA, state regulators, NGOs, OEMs, and e-recycling companies all contributed to the project. The standards were finalized and approved by ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).
Companies wishing to obtain R2:2013 Certification first must fill out an application that provides basic information about business practices. A License Acknowledgement is then emailed to the company’s administrator. The applicant then must choose a SERI-approved certifying body (CB) to conduct the audit that leads to certification. NSF International, NQA, and SAI Global are a few of the CBs to choose from. The CB interviews several company personnel and spends days and sometimes weeks on-site observing business operations. A second audit is done after the CB provides a report and request certain corrective actions. R2:2013 certification is issued only after passing both audits. Annual surveillance audits are necessary to maintain certification.
The first formal environmental management system (EMS), known as BS 7750, was developed by the British Standards Institute in 1992. It was around this time when electronic waste was emerging as a real threat to environmental sustainability. Organizations wishing to demonstrate environmental-consciousness to stakeholders had to develop their own EMS during this time period.
The International Organization of Standards (ISO), with BS 7750 as a template, developed the ISO 14000 series of certifications in 1996. ISO 14001 is the specific certification that determines the criteria for an effective EMS. Recycling firms that are ISO 14001:2015 certified, the most recent version, enjoy many benefits. Certification indicates to stakeholders that your company complies with all industry and statutory requirements. ISO 14001:2015 certified companies have a competitive advantage that translates into higher profits. The ISO 9001:2015 is another certification that sets forth the standards for quality management systems.
ISO develops and maintain the aforementioned standards, but is not the issuing body for certifications. Similar to R2:2013 Certification, an independent CB issues the actual certification after an organization completes the application and audit processes.
The aforementioned British Standards Institute develops and maintains the standards for occupational safety and health in the recycling industry. These standards provide your employees peace of mind and help streamline internal operations.
ISO published the final draft of the new ISO 45001 certification that will take effect in early 2018. It will replace OHSAS 18001. Companies that are currently OHSAS 18001 certified will have three years to migrate to the new standards.
Choosing an e-waste recycling with all the aforementioned certifications means you’ve exercised due diligence and satisfied any and all concerns of your stakeholders. Contact PC Recycle today with your questions and ideas for developing an e-recycling program for your company.