Choosing the right option for recycling your old IT devices can be tough. Your company probably has a recycler down the street that will take your used technology equipment for free, but there is also the possibility to hire a certified e-waste recycling company… So which one should you pick to help your company in its recycling projects?
If your company cares about the environment, and being compliant, you should probably go with a certified recycler.


Recycling signWhat type of certifications should you be looking for?

The most common certifications in the e-waste recycling world are the R2 (Responsible Recycling) and e-Stewards certifications. But there are many others, such as ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18000. All of those certifications are a proof that recyclers are taking compliance seriously and will dispose of your old electronics responsibly and securely.

In this post, we will focus on the R2 certification. It covers various aspects of the recycling and refurbishment process and is one of the most widespread certifications.


R2 certification… what does it entail?

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) encourages all recycling companies to be R2 certified. The reason is simple. An R2 certified company will advance best management practices. R2 is the proof that your used technology is handled in complete safety for the workers and the environment. This certification also promotes refurbishment and data destruction.

What are the requirements to be R2 certified?

R2 requires compliance with 13 categories. Here are a few examples.

  1. Environmental, Health, and Safety Management System

“An R2:2013 electronics recycler shall possess and use an Environmental, Health, and Safety Management System (EHSMS) to plan and monitor its environmental, health, and safety practices, including the activities it undertakes to conform to each requirement of the R2:2013 Standard.”

  1. “Reuse, Recover, …” Hierarchy of Responsible Management Strategies

“An R2:2013 electronics recycler shall develop and adhere to a policy for managing used and end-of-life electronic equipment that is based on a “reuse, recover…” hierarchy of responsible management strategies.”

  1. Legal Requirements

An R2:2013 electronics recycler shall comply with all applicable environmental, health and safety, and data security legal requirements and shall only import and export equipment and components containing Focus Materials* in full compliance with all applicable importing, transit, and exporting countries’ laws.

  1. Tracking Throughput

“An R2:2013 electronics recycler shall maintain business records sufficient to document the flow of equipment, components, and materials that pass through its facility.”

  1. Data Destruction

“An R2:2013 electronics recycler shall be responsible for data destruction of all media it handles using generally-accepted data destruction procedures.”

  1. Insurance, Closure Plan, and Financial Responsibility

“An R2:2013 electronics recycler shall possess insurance that is adequate to cover the potential risks and liabilities associated with the nature and size of the facility’s operations, and shall have adequate legal and financial assurances in place for the proper closure of its facility.”

R2 Certification

How do recyclers get R2 certified?

All organizations have to apply on the SERI website for the certification. The application asks questions about the company and its facilities. Once the application is approved, the applicant will need to train its staff and make sure its processes are compliant.

Then, the recycler will be audited several times by a third party in order to make sure everything is conforming. If any non-conformance is identified during the audit, the recycler will need to take corrective action to come into conformity and demonstrate the corrective action has occurred.

Once everything is in order, the applicant will receive the R2 certification.

So now it’s your call. If you want to make sure your data is secure and your old IT equipment is disposed responsibly, then the decision should be pretty clear.


*Focus Materials = materials in end-of-life electronic equipment that warrant greater care during recycling, refurbishing, materials recovery, energy recovery, incineration, and/or disposal due to their toxicity.

At ICT, transparency is key. Every technological device is processed by R2 certified staff in the ICT facility in the Boston area. ICT knows how important trust is and values its relationships with its customers. ICT cares about preserving our planet and helps companies all over the country to recycle E-Waste and protect their data.

Author Bio: Audrey Adam is the marketing manager at ICT. She has a background in journalism and blog writing.

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R2 Certification




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