2013 Paper Recycling Conference: Certification is Key for Electronics Recyclers

Electronics industry experts discuss the importance of certification.

October 16, 2013

Certification is important in the electronics recycling industry and an asset each business owner should consider, Jade Lee, president of Supply-Chain Services (SSI), Lombard, Ill., said during “Recycling Electronics Responsibly," a workshop Oct. 16 at the 2013 Paper Recycling Conference & Trade Show at the Marriott Downtown Chicago Magnificent Mile. 

“Certification is for building a strong company so you can grow your company,” Lee said. “More and more companies have come to understand this is what they have to do." 

Jade Lee, SSI President

SSI has nine key certifications, Lee said, which took a great deal of hard work and time to accomplish. The company is certified to R2 (Responsible Recycling Practices), Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS), ISO 14001, ISO 9001, OHSAS 180001 and four NAID (National Association for Information Destruction) AAA certifications.

Lee said obtaining the nine different certifications was a long process but has improved the company significantly. “It was a very long process, since 2004, but with determination it really transformed our company into a company that can manage a wider variety of corporate customers.”

In 2010, the industry began certifying electronics recyclers for the R2 Standard, she said. Since that time, nearly 400 electronics recycling facilities have been certified to the R2 Standard.

The R2 Standard was recently updated. The updated standard, R2:2013, went into effect July 1, 2013.

Jason Teliszczak, CEO of JT Environmental Consulting, Elmhurst, Ill., who was also a panelist on the electronics recycling session, said the updated standard is “more stringent.” The R2 standard has 13 provisions, he added.

The annual fee for the new standard, for example, is now $1,500, and downstream vendors must provide exact names and locations of facilities that will be handling focus materials (FMs) until final disposition, Teliszczak pointed out.

“Materials that are sold for reuse must be sent back if they contain FMs and aren’t working at the expense of the organization that sold the reused materials,” he said.

As with the R2 Standard, the e-Stewards certification also requires an annual fee, but the cost is based on a company’s annual sales, Teliszczak added. E-Stewards is a globally accredited, third-party audited certification program.

Unlike the R2 Standard, however, e-Stewards certification is company-based, not facility based as is the case with R2. “It’s very detailed and in-depth,” Teliszczak said of e-Stewards.

Lee said that while both R2 and e-Stewards are “top notch” standards, it is a myth that all standards are good standards.

“But certification has become a baseline,” she added.