What are R2 Standards?
The EPA encourages all electronics recyclers to become certified by demonstrating to an accredited, independent third-party auditor that they meet specific standards to safely recycle and manage electronics. Currently two accredited certification standards exist: the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) and the e-Stewards® standards.
Responsible electronics recycling provides important benefits, such as:
• Reducing environmental and human health impacts from improper recycling;
• Increasing access to quality reusable and refurbished equipment to those who need them;
• And reducing energy use and other environmental impacts associated with mining and processing of virgin materials – conserving our limited natural resources.
Both the existing certification programs share common elements that ensure responsible recycling of used electronics. These programs advance best management practices and offer a way to assess the environmental, worker health, and security practices of entities managing used electronics.
Specifically, these certification programs are based on strong environmental standards which maximize reuse and recycling, minimize exposure to human health or the environment, ensure safe management of materials by downstream handlers, and require destruction of all data on used electronics.
Certified electronics recyclers have demonstrated through audits and other means that they continually meet specific high environmental standards and safely manage used electronics. Once certified, the recycler is held to the particular standard by continual oversight by the independent accredited certifying body, ensuring that they meet specific responsibilities and are competent to audit and provide certification.