July 1, 2023 is an important day in the electronics recycling industry. This is the day, identified by the Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), as the day when all certified Responsible Recycling (R2) vendors must be transitioned from the old R2:2013 version to the new R2v3 version of the standard or have their certification suspended. This new standard has closed gaps that previously allowed for inconsistent interpretations and is thus reinforcing the principle of “Responsible Recycling.” The R2v3 standard explicitly outlines expectations and responsibilities for handling electronic waste materials While Sprout was able to transition early and receive the R2v3 certification in February of 2023 many in our industry have not yet transitioned. Many most likely will not before the deadline.
Sprout's clients and general consumers of the electronics recycling and ITAD industry are likely to see both positive and negative impacts from this change.
Enhanced Downstream Vendor Selection: The R2v3 standard has raised the requirements for the selection and use of downstream vendor partners at every tier in the product lifecycle. This means that all materials received by an R2v3 vendor will be handled in an environmentally responsible manner, prioritizing reuse throughout the entire process.
Specific Requirements for Specialty Areas: The updated standard specifies requirements for different areas of specialty within the electronics recycling and ITAD industry. This allows each company to certify to only the areas required for their operations. When choosing a recycler, it is now easier than ever to identify a good fit by reviewing the company’s scope statement. The areas of specialization include: Downstream Vendor Management, Data Sanitization (Logical and/or Physical), Test and Repair, Specialty Electronics Reuse, Materials Recovery, and Brokering.
Sorting and Categorization: The updated standard introduced an additional Core Requirement called Sorting and Categorization. This requirement helps identify the type of product being handled, including the presence of focus material, data, or both. Additionally, it identifies a standardized method for grading and identifying the functional and cosmetic levels of assets. This information is reflected in labels and records within facilities, as well as on commercial invoices and bills of lading to reduce handling errors.
Improved Tracking: Tracking materials through the lifecycle remains a Core Requirement in the updated standard. The new iteration emphasizes the need for more thorough and stringent record-keeping. The industry is already implementing improved tracking methods to ensure compliance and accountability.
Suspension of Non-Compliant Vendors: After July 1, 2023, vendors who have not transitioned to the R2v3 standard may have their R2 certification suspended. To safeguard your partnerships, we recommend verifying the certification status of any potential vendor using the SERI website: https://sustainableelectronics.org/find-an-r2-certified-facility/ in the coming months.
Narrowed Downstream Vendor Chain: Many companies that have successfully transitioned to R2v3 are strategically choosing only other R2v3 vendors. While this ensures compliance, it inadvertently narrows the downstream vendor chain and may limit pricing competition in the industry.
Specific Scope Statements: R2v3 vendors are certified for specific scope statements. It is possible that a company may be R2v3 certified but not certified to perform a specific action or process you may require. To avoid any confusion or mismatch, please utilize the link provided above or request a copy of the company's R2v3 certificate before agreeing to have any work completed.