Federal Agencies: What to Ask Your Electronics Recycler

Aug 28, 2017

Each year, federal agencies and facilities purchase billions of dollars worth of information technology equipment and services. As the single largest consumer in the world, the U.S. government has a unique opportunity to provide leadership in how they manage electronic assets through acquisition, use and disposal.

According to Executive Order (E.O.) 13514, government agencies are required to use environmentally sound practices for the disposition for surplus electronics such as computers, printers, and mobile phones and are encouraged by the U.S. General Services Administration to use electronics recyclers and refurbishers certified through either the Responsible Recycling (R2) or the eStewards Standard. If Federal agencies and facilities choose not to use a certified recycler, they may contract with a non-certified vendor, however they must practice additional due diligence steps to ensure that the electronics recycler they select utilizes environmentally sound practices, including an onsite audit.

Finding a partner who can support each organizations’ unique needs is not always an easy task. Below is a summarized checklist based on the “Checklist for the Selection of an Electronics Recycler” created by the Federal Electronics Challenge (FEC) to help guide the evaluation of an electronics recycler.

What to Ask an Electronics Recycler:

  1. Is the electronics recycler Responsible Recycling (R2) certified?
  2. Is the electronics recycler e-Stewards certified?
  3. Does the company send materials for disposal in landfills or for incineration?
  4. Do they provide service to your geographic area and type of organization?
  5. Can the ewaste recycler clearly describe its fees for various types of equipment?
  6. Can they offer additional services that you may require? (This may include On-site collection support, Transportation and Logistics, product reuse or refurbishment, serial number tracking or product tracking, recycling guarantee or certificate of destruction, hard drive shredding, onsite data shredding, online reporting, remarketing share or resale credit)
  7. Is the ewaste recycler equipped to provide media sanitization, hard drive wiping and destruction or shredding services for your electronic equipment and components? Do they audit this portion of their services for quality assurance?
  8. Can they provide information on their compliance history? (Including criminal or civil violations, and how they were, or are, being addressed)
  9. Do they have environmental, health and safety management systems and/or plans in place? (Including EMS, EH&S, Environmental risk management plan, Hazardous materials management plan, Emergency prevention, preparedness, and response plan)
  10. Can the electronics recycler provide a description of its processes? (Including Demanufacturing, Reuse/Resale/Donation, Secure media destruction, Disposal and waste handling, Product remanufacturing, Storage)
  11. Can they provide a description of what they do with the electronic equipment they receive? Processing methods may include: Brokering (matching buyers and sellers), Resale of whole units (selling of whole units), Remanufacturing (refurbishing equipment), Demanufacturing (disassembling into parts and subassemblies), Material recovery (physical separation to capture plastics, metals, glass, etc.), Material processing (shredding and grinding), Donation (school systems, non-profit organizations, etc.)
  12. Can they provide the names and/or locations of the downstream businesses to which they send equipment or components?
  13. Can they supply you with documentation or certification of final disposition?
  14. Does the electronics recycler maintain appropriate insurance/assurance? (May include General liability insurance, Environmental liability insurance, Financial assurance e.g., bonding)
  15. Will they allow you to verify this information through an on-site evaluation?
  16. Can the recycler provide references and contact information for other businesses that have used their services?


These questions are a great way to evaluate a potential vendor to securely and safely handle your end of life computer equipment. If your organization is looking for an R2 certified or eStewards certified company to handle your surplus electronic equipment in the South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska or Iowa area, look no further than SEAM. We are familiar with the requirements of Federal agencies and go above and beyond all requirements with regard environmental and security policies. Contact us today to get a pickup quote for your equipment.


SEAM provides IT recycling and data destruction services including onsite shredding and hard drive wiping to South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska.

Schedule a pickup or contact us for more information.