What are R2 and e-Stewards Certifications?

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Updated December 2018

You’ve responsibly recycled your electronics with GreenCitizen. Now what happens to them? Fortunately, we can re-use and re-sell 30% of the electronics we receive. The other 70% are recycled using only vendors with R2 and e-Stewards certifications. But what does that even mean?

What is a R2 Certification?

The EPA began tackling the electronic waste crisis in 2008 by developing the “Responsible Recycling Practices for Use in Accredited Certifications Programs,” or R2. This program was intended to promote best practices while providing potential customers with important information.

In 2013, R2 was updated by the R2 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). This update improved the quality of the certification and provided additional best practices. R2:2013 went into effect January 1st of that year, with R2:2008 certifications no longer being recognized.

How to Get R2 Certified:

  • Recycling companies interested in obtaining a R2 certification must insure facility operations meet R2 standards. The current R2 checklist is available here.
  • Submit an application along with the $1,500 annual R2 Fee ($1,000 for tax-exempt organizations).
  • Once the application is sent, companies are required to contact an authorized Certification Body (CB) to conduct an audit. These CBs must be accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). There are currently only 6 CBs accredited by ANAB for R2.
  • Companies may need to demonstrate corrective actions have been taken if any issues come up during the audit.
  • After the initial audit a second audit is required to review implementation of the standards. This includes a detailed site tour and interviews with company personnel .
  • If all requirements are met during the second audit, a R2 certificate is issued. The certificate is good for 3 years with mandatory annual audits. Once the certificate expires, a re-certification audit is required with continuing annual audits upon re-certification.

What is an e-Stewards Certification?

The e-Stewards certification began as a pledge organized by the Basel Action Network (BAN) in 2003 to establish and encourage best practices for e-waste recyclers. The pledge involved no disposal in landfills or incinerators, no prison labor, and no export of toxins to poor communities. Beginning in 2006, BAN expanded the pledge into the independently audited e-Stewards certification.

e-Stewards certification

How to Get an e-Stewards Certification:

  • Purchase and download the e-Stewards Standard then review the policies and guidelines.
  • Set up your Environmental Management Systems (EMS).
  • Get price quotes from the e-Stewards accredited independent certifying bodies (CBs) for each recycling facility in each country seeking certification.
  • Contract a CB and schedule audits.
  • Complete and send Revenue Verification Form (RVF) to the e-Stewards program administrator.
  • Determine annual license and marketing fees with the program administrator then pay the initiation fee.
  • Fill out the company information form on the e-Steward’s website.
  • Complete stage 1 and 2 audits.
  • Send fees with signed license and marketing agreement to program administrator.
  • Continue adding additional facilities in the same country within 18 months of certification.

Electronics Recycling with GreenCitizen

With stringent qualifications and multiple audits, we guarantee that your electronics are recycled responsibly with both R2 and e-Stewards certified companies in San Francisco.

For more information about r2 and e-Stewards certifications along with e-waste recycling best practices, give us a call at (650) 493-8700.

Written by Hannah Francis 


5 Comments on “What are R2 and e-Stewards Certifications?

  1. EPA completed a limited study evaluating the implementation of the two third-party certification programs for electronic waste recyclers in the U.S. – R2 and e-Stewards

  2. Why voluntary standards and certifications are important It s important to recognize that the electronics recycling industry is almost completely unregulated in the U.S.

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