The short answer to what to look for in an eWaste recycler is: e-Stewards or R2 certification. These are currently the only accredited certification standards for safely recycling and managing electronics.
To achieve certification, recyclers must demonstrate to an accredited, independent third-party auditor that they meet the specific standards of the certifying body. To maintain certification, recyclers are subject to annual (and sometimes, surprise) audits of their practices.
The R2 (for Responsible Recycling) standard came about after the EPA assembled a multi-stakeholder group tasked with creating a voluntary, market-based system that would ensure best practices and provide essential information/assurances to prospective customers. Group participants included the EPA, state regulators, electronics recyclers, customers of electronics recyclers, and several non-governmental organizations. According to the R2 website (www.r2solutions.org), “Representatives from environmental justice organizations participated actively for much for the R2 development process, but withdrew towards the end.”
The e-Stewards standard is the creation of the Basel Action Network (BAN) – the group responsible for identifying the results of improper disposal of electronic waste. According to the e-Stewards website (www.e-stewards.org), after the “environmental community [left] R2 … BAN was subsequently asked by leaders in the recycling and asset recovery industries to create a truly rigorous, internationally compliant certification program that would assure full conformance to a comprehensive suite of e-recycling best practices.”
In our commitment to diverting electronic waste from landfills, eWaste Direct chose ECS Refining as our trusted recycler. ECS Refining is e-Stewards, R2, and ISO 14001 certified.