PCRR has new certifications

PCRR, an electronics recycler and refurbisher in Chicago, has become the latest company to commit to a higher standard of business and ethical operations by achieving RIOS™ certification. The company already maintains R2 certification, achieved in 2012; with the latest announcement, PCRR is an R2/RIOS™ certified electronics recycler.

PCRR, founded in 2000, primarily focuses on the reuse of used electronic equipment and is a Microsoft® Authorized Refurbisher. The company is the largest computer refurbisher in Illinois and one of the largest in the country.

“We implemented the RIOS™ management system because it is the right thing to do for our employees, customers and the environment,” said Willie Cade, founder and CEO of PCRR. “Adding RIOS™ to our R2 certification reaffirms PCRR’s commitment to providing quality refurbished electronic equipment in an environmentally responsible way.”

RIOS™ serves as an alternative to the combination of ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards. To earn RIOS™ certification, PCRR underwent a third-party audit to verify compliance with quality, environmental, health and safety standards.

“As an industry leader in computer refurbishing, PCRR’s RIOS™ certification showcases the importance of certification for all electronics recyclers, including those focused on refurbishment,” said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI), who administers the RIOS™ program. “R2/RIOS™ certification proves that a facility is committed to the highest standard of responsible business practices.”

R2/RIOS™ certified recycling facilities have experienced significant positive results, including new business opportunities, improved employee retention and increased bottom line. For additional information on R2/RIOS™ certification, visit www.isri.org/certifyme.

For more information on the company, visit www.pcrr.com, or call (800) 939-6000.

 

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AER Worldwide Certified to R2 standards

AER Worldwide, headquartered in Fremont, Ca., has received Responsible Recycling certification at three of its worldwide facilities, according to R2 Solutions.

AER, on its website, identifies itself as a “de-manufacturer with a focus on the redistribution of components. It also end-of-life processes the non-resellable part of the electronic waste stream it receives from its customers in an environmentally sound manner.”

The company has facilities in Asia, Europe and North America.

The three facilities mean that 301 electronics recycling facilities are now certified to the standard. Growth in the certification has been brisk this year; 200 facilities were certified in May 2012, meaning the standard has seen growth of 50 percent in six months.

Facilities have been certified to the R2 standard since 2010.

The Responsible Recycling (R2) certification was developed through a two and a half year process that involved the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and industry stakeholders. R2 requires recyclers to manage materials properly to protect the environment, human health and safety, and prohibit illegal export of hazardous materials.  The standard is supported by government, manufacturer, recycler and non-governmental organization stakeholders.

R2 is getting an update – R2 Solutions, the body which oversees the standard, is currently seeking comment on R2:2013.

For more information on R2/RIOS™ standards, visit The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry’s new website at www.isri.org/certifyme.

Remember to recycle your electronics during the holidays

With the holiday shopping season in full swing – and electronics on the top of Santa’s gift list – many organizations are staging electronics recycling drives in December to capture some of the old mobile phones, laptops and tablets that are being replaced.

It’s important to recycle – and not throw away – unwanted electronics. By now, most Americans should know, or at least have a basic feeling that, throwing electronics in the trash is wrong. Perhaps it’s a belief that something that expensive should have some residual value, or the (correct) notion that burying the high-tech components in a landfill could allow potentially harmful substances can leach out into groundwater.

For whatever the reason, Americans are slowly, but surely, beginning to recycle their electronics as automatically as they separate cans, bottles and paper from their household waste.

But is it enough to simply drive electronics down to the city collection point? How many people take the time to find out who is recycling their electronics, and if it’s being done responsibly?

Top recyclers say it’s important for everyone to ensure their electronics are being handled responsibly. Residents, for example, should not hesitate to question how their elected officials selected electronics recyclers for government-sponsored collection events. Do the recyclers have data security protocols in place? Are they certified to industry standards? Will the material be processed in a manner that is safe for the environment and the workers handling it?

In many states, especially those with electronics recycling mandates or producer responsibility laws, state legislatures have set up a minimum requirement for recyclers accepting material from state agencies; in Pennsylvania and the newly-enacted electronics recycling program, electronics recyclers must hold Responsible Recycling or other industry certifications, in addition to meeting other requirements, to participate in the state EPR program. Other states, however, take a laissez-faire approach. For example, in Ohio, while individual businesses or local governments may set their own rules regarding who may handle their obsolete and unwanted escrap, there are no state-wide rules or regulations. That means, potentially, the electronics being collected by the community electronics drive could be handled in an unsafe or insecure manner – and such an occurrence isn’t unheard of, given the vast troves of online information available on how to protect personal information on old phones and laptops.

If you are thinking of recycling your mobile phone or other electronics, first and foremost, consider working with a recycler who is certified to the R2/RIOS™ standards. For more information on certification, visit The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industry’s new website at www.isri.org/certifyme.

Keep these points in mind when recycling electronics:

  • Is the collection method secure? What steps have been taken to protect the data on the devices before they are recycled?
  • Does the recycler have data protection protocols?
  • Is the recycler certified? Will the environment and employees be protected while the electronics are recycled?

R2 reaches milestone – 200 facilities now certified

From R2 Solutions

 R2 passed a significant milestone this month when the number of responsible electronic recycling facilities that hold R2 certification surpassed 200 globally.  The number of certified facilities has doubled in approximately seven months. Organizations seeking responsible solutions for properly disposing of used electronic equipment now have more choice than ever when seeking a recycling partner.

Recyclers are choosing to be certified to the R2 Standard at a much more rapid pace than other standards – the number of R2-certified facilities far eclipses the number of facilities holding other certifications.  This reflects the fact that while the R2 Standard is exceedingly stringent in environmental-protection requirements, it also accommodates innovation, stakeholder input and global operation.

With the addition of newly-certified facilities, R2-certified recyclers are now located in several geographies in North America, Europe and Asia.  The R2 Standard is a strong global standard that places the same requirements on recyclers regardless of geography.  Certified recyclers must demonstrate to independent auditors practices that protect the environment and human health and safety, and each of a recycling company’s facilities must be independently audited.

The newly certified facilities include the first public entity to receive certification, the Waste Commission of Scott County’s Electronic Demanufacturing Facility. The Iowa organization is an inter-governmental agency representing 17 communities and Scott County.  The Commission offers several services including an electronics recycling facility serving residents and businesses in Iowa and Western Illinois.  The Commission can now assure its customers through the R2 certification that it is operating with the highest levels of environmental and human health and safety protection.

“We are proud to be the first R2-certified facility in the state of Iowa,” said Keith Krambeck, special waste manager for Waste Commission of Scott County. “Becoming R2-certified was one of the goals of the Commission’s Environmental, Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. While we already had an EHSMS in place, the R2 standard was much more rigorous and our staff worked extremely hard to meet those standards. Because of this, we feel we have an outstanding EHSMS that will better protect our employees and better serve the needs of our customers,” he said.

R2 will continue to grow, certification processes are underway at a number of additional facilities which will both expand the capacity of responsible recyclers in key markets such as the U.S., and expand to additional geographies where a responsible recycling industry can grow.

R2 market demand

R2 surpasses two hundred certified facilities, the demand for R2-certified recyclers continues to rise. Companies report requirements for R2 certification in requests for proposals (RFP’s) both in the public and private sectors. In addition, states continue to recognize the importance certification makes in promoting safe and sustainable recycling practices. Five states have recognized R2 directly through laws or rulemaking. In addition, two more states have references directly to R2 in proposed laws and rules. Numerous other references are seen throughout state agencies on guidance and FAQs web pages.

The largest demand stems from the strategic direction the U.S. Government is taking by requiring federal electronic assets (FEAs) to be disposed through companies with R2 or equivalent certification. Beginning with the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship, released in July 2011, the Interagency Task Force recognized the important role that industry certification can play in electronics recycling. Similar to the development of the R2 Standard, the interagency task force was a collaboration of multiple stakeholders. As a result of the published strategy, the GSA issued a Bulletin FMR B-34 on February 29, 2012 to guide Federal agencies in the disposition of FEAs.   Further rules are expected in the near future requiring the same practices from Federal agency IT contractors.

The demand for R2-certified companies continues to grow. Although the U.S. Government is one of the largest consumers of electronics, the more important outcome of these steps it has taken is the recognition of R2 certification as an important consideration when selecting electronics recyclers. The precedent set is likely to be adopted by both the public and private sectors.  We have already noticed a trend of R2 certification cascading down the recycling chain to 2nd and 3rd tier vendors. R2-certified recyclers are now requiring R2 certification of their downstream vendors.

There are many market drivers for certification. R2 Solutions will continue to promote the R2 Standard at every level.

R2 and exports

Protecting vulnerable populations from environmental, health, and safety risks is a cornerstone of the R2 Standard. Some have asked, why then, doesn’t R2 establish an outright ban on exports of electronic scrap to developing countries?

The answer has to do with economic opportunity. The stakeholders that developed R2 designed a set of requirements that call for equal environmental, health and safety protections no matter the location. Importantly, the R2 requirements do so in a manner that does not curb the business opportunities of law-abiding, state-of-the-art companies and their workers in developing countries.

Developing countries can be home to both atrocious, and state-of-the-art, electronics recycling and refurbishing operations. In these countries, as elsewhere, we need to shift electronics recycling and refurbishing away from the former and into the latter types of operations. This accomplishes environmental, health and safety goals while also promoting good jobs in some of the areas of the world most in need of economic opportunity.

To ensure exported electronic scrap ends up at state-of-the-art facilities, three key conditions need to be met. First, shipments of exported electronic scrap must be sent and received in accordance with the laws of the exporting and importing countries. Second, all receiving facilities must be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that they are employing best technologies and practices. And, third, all equipment must be accurately characterized on the shipping manifest. Too often, e-scrap exports are characterized as “reusable” to avoid the added scrutiny and legal requirements that apply to “waste”.

R2 effectively addresses each of these conditions. It prohibits the shipment of end-of-life electronic equipment containing toxic materials to developing countries unless the shipment is legal under the laws of both the exporting and importing countries. It requires that the receiving facility conforms to key R2 requirements and employs technologies appropriate for the materials its processes. Furthermore, “reusable” electronics equipment containing toxic materials is subject to these same requirements unless it has been tested and its key functions are working properly. Finally, all shipments must be accurately labeled.

Through these requirements, the stakeholders that developed R2 achieve the goal of protecting vulnerable populations while supporting legal, safe, environmentally-sustainable, economic development in developing countries.