R2 stands for Responsible Recycling, a global standard overseen by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI). R2 certified companies such as Quantum comply with rigorous requirements for the management and processing of used electronics (e-scrap). Here is a closer look at what the certification means and why it is so important.
How Is Quantum Set Up for R2 Compliance?
As a certified recycler, Quantum has developed processes and protocols to perform all R2-compliant activities surrounding the handling of electronics. These activities are reviewed to ensure the expected result is being achieved, and are required to be demonstrated practically in person. We perform checks and balances to ensure products are sanitized and managed throughout the entire recycling chain and no personal data remains on any devices. Thereafter, commodities are separated to maximize recycling and reuse. Ensuring the security and destruction of data while simultaneously minimizing waste is a high-touch, time sensitive process.
The R2 program outlines a hierarchy of responsible management strategies to test, sanitize, and repurpose units for another life whenever possible. With that being said, many electronics are not designed to be reusable, and a lot of businesses contractually require destruction of their products. In such cases, it’s more practical to break commodities down into their pure state. Under R2 principles, the first priority is always to reuse, then recycle. Disposal is a last resort.
Quantum has all of the tools and processes in place to support R2 compliance. Unlike many other facilities, we have both a recycling and an ITAD side. All e-waste that comes through our recycling division that could have personal data (such as smartphones or computers) is triaged and will follow our Data Sanitization Plan. If it does not need to be sent to ITAD for sanitization, the components are sorted to remove any hazards. It is then manually disassembled and/or sent for physical destruction and material recovery through Quantum’s shredding system.
Why Is Working with an R2 Certified Company Important?
Many companies claiming to be responsible stewards of your used electronics may actually export the electronics overseas, where often the infrastructure and environmental safety regulations and protocols are not up to R2 standards. Non-R2 companies have not necessarily taken the time to manage the control of data properly, and in general pose risk to your corporate brand identity.
Ensuring the vendor you work with is R2 certified is a good first step in your overall evaluation of their operational setup. In addition to holding the R2 certification, the R2 standard also requires recyclers to obtain certification to one or more generally-accepted environmental, health, and safety management systems. You should ensure your recycler’s approved scope matches the type of process with which the recycler is proposing to handle your electronics.
Moreover, as Mike Godfrey, VP of Operations for Quantum’s Recycling Division, says, “The technology, processing methodology, and markets change quickly over time. Recyclers have to spend time and energy to navigate and understand these changes. It requires ongoing investments in infrastructure to stay ahead of the curve, all in the service of adapting to new types of electronics and data storage, and ensuring they are sanitized and recycled in a compliant manner.” R2 certified companies like Quantum are audited by third parties on an annual basis to ensure they’re meeting the evolving recycling challenges by today’s modern electronic devices.
What Sets Quantum Apart?
Not only do we hold R2 certification, but our very own Mike Godfrey is also a member of the R2 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for SERI. While R2 was once predominately a North American-driven initiative, in recent years it has gained traction globally as one of the most well-known and well-crafted electronics recycling standards there is.
SERI’s overarching goal is to achieve zero e-waste and electronics recycling sustainably. To support this objective, they seek members of the electronics community who align with their mission. In addition to electronics recyclers and refurbishers, the R2 standard is supported by producers, government regulators as well as non-governmental organizations focused on data security and environmental management.
Quantum is proud to support and drive R2’s mandate of ensuring secure, value-added and environmentally friendly recycling of the growing amount of electronics waste being generated around the world.