Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Confusion Continues In Two Competing Electronics Recycling Programs

Sep 28: Within the last 10-days, the two major competing electronic waste recycling programs, operated by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and the Basal Action Network, have announced major developments in their programs designed to prove their validity, independence and authentication [See WIMS 3/10/10 for background]. The two programs have now created a confusing system for the public and private sectors to participate in responsible electronics recycling. While U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has said that the issue of proper management of E-waste is a major international priority of the U.S. and the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, EPA has done little to provide clarity to the two competing and confusing programs.
    On September 28, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc (ISRI) announced the creation of R2 Solutions, a stand-alone, non-profit organization formed to manage and continually develop the Responsible Recycling (R2) Certified Electronics Recycler® Program within the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS). According to a release, R2 Solutions will oversee the R2 Practices which provides a comprehensive set of standards for electronics recyclers that require responsible management of used computers and consumer electronics. The R2 Practices, were developed under the aegis of an EPA facilitated, multi-stakeholder process that has been accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board as a third party auditable global standard. 
    To date, according to ISRI, there are 21 electronics recycling facilities certified to the R2 Practices -- a set of requirements that establishes a high bar for quality, environmental protection, health & safety, and data security, and that precludes shipping of hazardous materials to countries that have laws prohibiting their import. Robin Wiener, ISRI president said, "ISRI, as one of the original supporters of the R2 Practices, applauds the creation of R2 Solutions as a stand-alone, non-profit organization, whose sole purpose is to manage and sustainably develop the R2 Practices in an open, transparent manner. We firmly believe that a neutral, third-party organization such as R2 Solutions is a more appropriate administrator of the R2 Program going forward, and we [ISRI] look forward to its progress in advancing responsible electronics recycling globally."
    The newly created R2 Solutions body will manage continual development of R2 Practices, with standards development and stakeholder consultations on R2 Practices publicly available. A full set of standards is available on the R2 Solutions website (see link below). ISRI indicated that w
ith the creation of R2 Solutions, a governance structure embraced by the EPA, vendors can now have confidence that used electronic equipment is being recycled safely and responsibly by accredited recyclers.
    According to ISRI, R2 Solutions will act as the Secretariat for the R2 Standard, and the governing council empanelled by R2 Solutions will operate under a set of bylaws that will require a decision-making forum, including an appeals process, in which all interested stakeholders may participate. The Board of Directors of R2 Solutions includes: John DeVillars, Managing Partner of BlueWave Capital; John Howard, independent public policy consultant former Bush Administration Federal Environmental Executive; John Lingelbach, environmental mediator, Acting Executive Director of R2 Solutions; Pete Regan, former CEO and Chairman of the Board of ERM, Inc.; Lynn Rubinstein, Executive Director of the Northeast Recycling Council (NERC).
    The ISRI announcement follows a competing announcement from the other major electronics recycling program operated by the Basal Action Network (BAN) and known as the Certified e-Stewards® Initiative. On September 17, the e-Stewards program announced its worldwide, "
third-party audited, accredited international certification program for electronics recyclers that prohibits the export of e-waste to developing countries and enjoys the support of more than 70 environmental organizations." The e-Stewards announced its first Leadership Council which is designed to help guide the early development and promotion of the program "to ensure truly responsible electronics recycling across the globe."

    Jim Puckett, BAN Executive Director said, "We are very fortunate to have this first group of ardent and expert supporters of the e-Stewards Certification volunteer to help advise and shape this program to not only be the most principled electronics recycling certification in existence but the most practical and useful one as well."

    The new e-Stewards Leadership Council consists of representatives of five leading U.S. e-Recyclers: Capstone Wireless (TX), CloudBlue (OH), Electronic Recyclers International (CA), Surplus Exchange (MO) and WeRecycle! (NY). Philips Services Corp., with e-recycling collection facilities across the U.S., will represent e-waste collectors. Samsung and Wells Fargo, both enrolled in the e-Stewards Enterprise program, will represent electronics manufacturers and corporations that generate e-waste. A representative of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and two government representatives will round out the Council, ensuring a diversity of viewpoints but all sharing in the common goal of ending e-waste mismanagement.

    The Leadership Council will provide recommendations to BAN in the areas of technical and business issues, policy expertise, marketing and, as appropriate, promotional efforts and governmental lobbying. All members have demonstrated a depth of knowledge of industry issues and a passion to facilitate the achievement of the e-Stewards mission.
    Access a release from ISRI (click here). Access the ISRI Certified Electronics Recycler® Program (click here). Access the R2 Solutions website (click here). Access a release from BAN (click here). Access the Certified e-Stewards® Initiative (click here). Access more information on the e-Stewards Leadership Council (click here). Access EPA's release on priority issues (click here). Access EPA's eCycling website for more information (click here). [*Haz, *P2]


Anonymous said...

It's confusing only if you haven't read the standards or any independent analysis of them. One stops dumping, export, and prison labor, and one doesn't. Figure it out, lazy writer.

WIMS said...

Perhaps this lazy reader should review our history of coverage of this issue to understand that we have only tried to fairly expose this unfortunate situation that has confused many in the e-waste business. We think its important for U.S. EPA to provide clarity.