ISRI 2014 Convention: Certification dollars and sense

R2 and RIOS backers say certification will yield bottom-line returns.

May 2, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Certification Conferences & Events Electronics

Customers seeking electronics recycling services likely will be assured by all potential recyclers that their companies are doing things properly. Panelists at a session at the 2014 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries Inc. (ISRI) Convention & Exposition said facility certification provides the necessary verification that can earn the business of these customers.

Rike Sandlin
Rike Sandlin of HiTech Assets. 

Both panelists at the session were familiar with ISRI’s RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard) certification as well as with R2 (Responsible Recycling Practices) electronics recycling certification as participants whose companies had been through the process. R2/RIOS is one of two focused certification systems available to electronics recyclers. (The other is e-Stewards, created by Seattle-based Basel Action Network [BAN].)


Bob McCarthy, director of business development and training at Minnesota-based electronics recycling auditing firm Greeneye Partners, said he became convinced of the merits of certification in his previous job at an electronics recycler. McCarthy said he tried to convince potential customers that, unlike some of its competitors, his company was “doing it the right way,” but “our competition claimed to also. I was competing on price every time.”

In 2008, the company McCarthy worked for received its R2 certification. “That was our game changer,” said McCarthy. “It took us from being another ‘me too’ to being the expert in the room.” The certification status and explanation of the process provided an opening to discuss “why potential customers should use us,” he said.

He added that certification talking points include assurances of data security, restrictions on "black market" reuse sales and restrictions on sending some obsolete items overseas.

"Your goal should be to eliminate your customers’ risks,” McCarthy said.

He told session attendees that following through on certification would prove rewarding. “It’s not a cost—you’re making money,” he said of certification.


Rike Sandlin of Oklahoma-based HiTech Assets Inc. said his company has seen several bottom-line benefits since obtaining RIOS certification. “Within six months [of obtaining RIOS certification], the quality improvements we experienced paid for the RIOS process.”


A benefit in the EHS (environmental health and safety) category included new lighting that not only saved energy costs but improved the work environment, Sandlin said.


Processes “built into RIOS” also helped HiTech Assets fully tap into global trade for the secondary commodities (metal and plastic scrap) that it produces, Sandlin commented.


Sandlin also said many opportunities are available to his company only because of its RIOS certification. “Many RFPs [requests for proposals] are requiring R2/RIOS,” he remarked. “Ultimately, it’s about competitive advantage,” Sandlin concluded, urging session attendees to obtain certification and to “market it” once they have it.


The ISRI 2014 Convention & Exposition was April 6-10 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.