Responsible Recycling (R2)
The Responsible Recycling (R2) standard is applicable to organizations engaged in electronic recycling and related activities. R2 defines practices supported by accredited certification programs that assess the effectiveness of electronics recyclers’ environmental, health and safety, and security practices.
The standard gives consideration to the needs of various interested parties. Customers benefit from confidence that due diligence is practiced when processing and handling used and end-of-life electronic equipment. Participating recyclers and refurbishers benefit through adherence to value-added practices. Employees benefit through enhanced safety. Local and global communities benefit by knowing that used and end of life electronics are processed in a manner consistent with environmental responsibility and stewardship.
R2 requirements are conformance requirements and are not intended to replace legal or other requirements to which participating organizations subscribe. Adherence to this set of R2 practices are determined and implemented on a voluntary basis. Where conflicts exist, legal requirements take precedence over R2 or other requirements in all cases.
Electronics possess unique properties that differ from other Waste Streams. Most electronics dispositioned for recycling are not classified as hazardous waste. Electronics are complex devices that consist of a wide variety of materials, many of which would not be classified as hazardous under EPA testing procedures.
Electronics contain hundreds of elements, compounds, and alloys including steel, plastic, glass, ceramics, copper, aluminum, lead, nickel, zinc, lithium, carbon, cadmium, mercury, beryllium, gold, silver, palladium, flame retardants, etc. Many of these materials possess residual value and may pose risks if improperly disposed of or recycled.
Challenges related to the disposal of electronics have given rise to numerous environmental concerns over the past many years including concerns about toxics from electronics leaching from landfills and improper disposal methods such as open burning utilized in some developing countries. Electronics that end up in landfills or incinerators represent lost resources.