What is the R2 Responsible Recycling Certification and Why Does It Matter?

Mar 2, 2021

R2 is a shorthand term used to refer to responsible recycling. This concept is vital to maintaining the best practices for recycling electronics. Every recycling company is encouraged by the EPA to be R2 certified so that they can properly handle electronics.

A recycling company that is R2 certified will look for refurbishment opportunities for products that are turned in to them. They will also know how to properly destroy data on these electronics.

What Does R2 Certification Entail?

To earn R2 certification, a recycling center must maintain compliance across thirteen distinct categories. We’ll go over a few of those categories below:

Monitor Health and Safety

A system must be in place to monitor the health and safety of the entire facility and its workers.

Reuse and Recover

There must be a hierarchy in place to guide the reuse and refurbishment of electronics.

Legal Compliance

Every R2-certified facility must be in legal compliance with regulations and they must also have a stringent plan in place to dispose of all data.

Thorough Tracking

There must be an active record for every piece of equipment, material, and component that passes through the recycling facility.

Data Destruction

Any R2-certified recycler is responsible to perform proper data destruction in accordance with generally accepted practices.

Insurance and Financial Responsibility

The recycling facility must have adequate insurance to cover any potential risks and liabilities that come along with its operation.

As you can see, any R2-certified recycling center will have to demonstrate its ability to operate a successful recycling facility that specializes in electronics recycling.

How Does a Recycling Center Become R2 Certified?

In order to become an R2 recycling facility, the organization must apply on the SERI website for certification. The application asks for plenty of information about the facility, including details about its staff and operations.

If the application is approved, the applicant will need to train their staff members on the new processes and may be asked to create new systems to ensure compliance.

A third-party vendor will audit the recycling facility several times before the certification is awarded. If the facility is found to be out of compliance, they will need to fix the issue before being able to move forward with the process. Once everything is in order and multiple audits have been passed, the facility can receive the R2 certification.

Should You Work with an R2-Certified Facility?

While there are over a dozen different requirements to become R2 certified, the most significant requirement for a business owner is that they can show that data is properly destroyed. Having your data fall into the wrong hands can jeopardize your entire business. As such, it’s important to work with an R2-certified facility to ensure that all of your data is properly handled during the recycling process.

Any recycling center that is R2 certified will state that they are certified on their website. If you aren’t sure whether a chosen facility is certified, email or call them and ask. If they are not certified, it’s worth moving on to the next facility.

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.