Pollution is in the past
Once upon a time, manufacturers of electronics, and the major corporations that used them, disposed of their old computers and parts in the cheapest, easiest way possible: putting them in dumpsters or landfills, finding someone cheap to haul the parts away, or selling them to shops for parts. Before electronics disposal regulations developed, valuable metals and other components were harvested and sold for scrap or reuse, and the rest was often incinerated or dumped in a landfill, disregarding dangerous pollutants like mercury or heavy metals that improperly disposed of electronics put into our groundwater and atmosphere. Even some recycling facilities irresponsibly handled electronics in ways that put workers at risk of hazardous exposure. Today, however, more companies are looking toward regulated, sustainable options for their electronics disposal by choosing to do business with an R2 certified recycler.
The shift toward doing business with an R2 responsible electronics recycler
As the business climate shifts toward normalizing sustainability and placing pressure on large corporations to practice good environmental stewardship, it makes sense for companies to work with a reputable, R2 responsible electronics recycler when it’s time to dispose of older equipment. Considering how many electronics manufacturers there are worldwide, and the staggering rates at which American consumers alone dispose of their personal devices—numbers totaling in the hundreds of millions—the push for more vendors to become certified as an R2 responsible electronics recycler and for businesses to pass along used electronics to an R2 certified recycler is more important than ever.
An R2 certified recycler is overseen by a non-profit organization called SERI, who provides audits and corrections for regulatory R2 guidelines. Facilities that handle and process used electronics are required to reuse or recycle their parts, and many have a strict no-landfill policy, including OceanTech, who are registered as an R2 responsible electronics recycler. R2 guidelines call for compliance in environmental, safety, and security measures as outlined in the R2 Standard. Among these guidelines are hazard identifications to protect workers and communities from exposure to pollutants or toxins, regulations for handling mercury, batteries, inks and toners, and PCBs, as well as standards for security measures and data destruction to ensure no sensitive information falls into the wrong hands during the process of shredding and erasing hard drives.
When an R2 responsible electronics recycler is audited, the inspector ensures each standard is being met, and corrective actions or penalties are taken when deviations occur. Some large corporations are registered as R2 leaders, meaning they are bound to exclusively use the services of a R2 certified recycler when replacing computers and other electronic equipment. The benefits of employing an R2 certified vendor for such a task stack up for big companies, but chief among them is the PR element. It’s simply good business to be environmentally sound and conscientious of worker safety, particularly during this time when big corporate offenders are being profiled more than ever before.