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Comparisons of e-Stewards and R2: Insights on Business and Environmental Benefits

Clients, colleagues, and friends who have seen or of deplorable conditions of certain manual electronics “recycling” communities in disadvantaged regions of the world ask, “How do I know where the products I no longer need end up, and how they are processed? Am I really doing the right thing by recycling them?” They ask how to tell which electronics recycling services are responsible for human and environmental health, adding, “Wouldn’t it be a good idea if there were certifications or standards for recyclers so we could choose the ethical ones?”

As far as standards, many recyclers are getting ISO 14001 certified, which provides a structure for continuous management and reduction of environmental impacts but by itself doesn’t prescribe performance requirements or audits for electronics-recycling practices. Now, we can point to two standards for electronics recycling – R2 and e-Stewards – to compare and contrast and find recyclers becoming certified to the standard of their choice, or both.

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