Tens of millions of tons of electronic waste are dropped off at recycling centers every year in the U.S. When we take our unwanted cellphones, laptops and other electronic devices to a recycler, we do so because we are concerned about the environment. We expect the recycling center to properly dispose of e-waste so that it does not contaminate the soil, air or water and recycler certification is one way to demonstrate that the facility operates to best management practices.
By now, everybody knows something about the toxicity of ewaste chemicals and metals. Most of us understand that allowing electronic waste to be incinerated significantly contributes to pollution and damage to the ozone. We also know that dumping electronics into landfills poisons the soil and water for decades.
These reasons and dozens more are why you should care if your ecycler can prove they are certified by Recycling Industry Operating Standards (RIOS) and Responsible Recycling Practices (R2).
What is RIOS Certification?
Potomac eCycle is proud to have earned recycler certification for unfailing compliance with the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS). As the U.S. recycling industry’s preeminent system for maintaining environmental, quality, health and safety principles, RIOS conducts comprehensive audits on ecycling businesses to ensure ewaste is recycled safely and appropriately. In addition to documenting a recycling center’s operations, RIOS evaluates training requirements and procedural tasks involving employees and management. Finally, a RIOS recycler certification is awarded when the facility proves it is compliant with local, state and federal laws regarding disposal of ewaste.
Facilities like Potomac eCycle that have RIOS recycler certification regularly conducts full reviews of up-to-date information about the environmental impact of ewaste. This review further includes the impact of the facility itself on community environment–noise, energy consumption, etc. RIOS certification is not mandatory for ecycling businesses in the U.S. However, Potomac eCycle chooses to take the time effort to be RIOS certified to show how important the health of the planet and the health of our customers is to our staff.
What is Responsible Recycling Practices (R2)?
R2 is an accredited certification standard for ecycling facilities. This organization also provides information to customers of ecycling companies about the benefits of using an R2-certified ecycling center. While RIOS focuses on the ecycling process from beginning to end, R2 standards target ewaste at the “end of life” stage. In other words, R2 emphasizes the ability of ecycling facilities to extract as much recyclable material as possible from ewaste.
Potomac eCycle earned R2 certification years ago by employing rigorously responsible ecycling methods to assure our customers their ewaste is being recycled and/or disposed of with no harm to the environment. To obtain R2 certification, Potomac eCyle developed and implemented operational procedures for safely managing employee and environmental health. We also provided documentation that showed we comply with state and federal legal requirements regarding ewaste disposal.
What Can Happen to Ewaste Taken to Uncertified Ecycling Facilities?
Unfortunately, not all recycling facilities have earned recycler certification. Some don’t want to spend resources on obtaining RIOS/R2 certification because they are only in the ecycling business for profit. They don’t care what happens to discarded electronics as long as they can sell and ship ewaste to underdeveloped countries overseas and make money. A few uncertified recycling facilities may even dump ewaste in isolated areas of the U.S. and claim they are following EPA guidelines for disposal of electronics.
When you have ewaste you want recycled and disposed of in an environmentally safe manner, call Potomac eCycle for immediate assistance. We hold the prestigious RIOS/R2 recycler certification and offer secure, documented destruction of hard drives containing sensitive data. Once destruction of data is complete, you will receive a Certificate of Destruction confirming the process was handled professionally and discreetly.
Contact Potomac eCycle to learn more about our ecycling services.