What’s your organization’s vision for sustainability and used electronics? And how do you know if your ITAD partner shares that vision?
Most ITAD companies boast a range of environmental certifications. And most certifications are a great sign of a company’s commitment to environmentally
and socially responsible ITAD — an important commitment, for sure.
But matching these certifications up with what your organization wants in an ITAD provider can be tricky. Let’s take a look at the economic and environmental concepts behind one major certification, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International’s (SERI) R2 Standard.
The Circular Economy
SERI’s R2 Standard embraces the concept of the circular economy, a cutting-edge economic approach. Reuse and responsible recycling are at the core of the circular economy. The traditional “take-make-throw” business concept uses raw materials and creates new goods with little thought about the generation of byproducts or waste. SERI’s R2 Standard moves beyond that outdated approach to focus on reuse and resource management over “e-waste” management.
Embracing the concept of the circular economy and focusing on reuse can create opportunities for businesses willing to engage in a new way of thinking. So what does the circular economy look like for your used electronics?
Reuse: The First Choice
The circular economy focuses on reuse, which presents the greatest environmental and social benefits over recycling or responsible disposal of used IT equipment. Studies show that as much as 70% of the energy a typical laptop will consume during its lifespan is used in manufacturing the product. This heavy up-front usage of resources makes it critical to extend the life of laptops and other newly manufactured electronics, rather than immediately classifying used electronics as e-waste.
Social benefits of reuse include injecting emerging markets around the world with affordable used electronics. Your obsolete or minimally defective IT equipment could have a whole new life in many regions of the world, supporting access to information and technology worldwide. The R2 Certification supports this goal by recognizing the environmental and social benefits of reuse over recycling or disposal.
Responsible Recycling: Maximizing Recovery
When your IT equipment cannot be salvaged for reuse, responsible recycling is the solution. Recycling can extract a tremendous amount of resources from used electronics.
The R2 Standard supports safe recycling by requiring thorough vetting of downstream partners. This opens up international trade, where legally permitted, with R2-certified or compliant partners. SERI offers education and training to support responsible recycling worldwide, with over 700 R2-certified facilities operating in 30 countries.
The R2 Standard and Your Bottom Line
SERI’s focus on reuse and the circular economy differs from other major standards. For example, the Basil Action Network’s eStewards certification emphasizes the need to stop toxic e-waste spread. Curbing the spread of toxic e-waste is very important, and the R2 Standard meets the same goals while offering more opportunities for economic recovery than a standard focused solely on responsible disposal.
The R2 Standard presents businesses with an opportunity to access the circular economy. Resale of used electronics happens on a worldwide scale. An R2-certified ITAD partner focused on the environmental and social benefits of tapping into reuse markets worldwide offers your organization access to markets for your used computers, HDD, and servers.
Bottom line: tapping into the circular economy of used IT assets offers environmental, social, and economic gains on a global scale.