Certification Programs for Electronics Recyclers
EPA encourages all electronics recyclers to become certified by demonstrating to an accredited, independent third-party auditor that they meet specific standards to safely recycle and manage electronics. Currently two accredited certification standards exist: the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) and the e-Stewards® standards. We also encourage customers to choose certified electronics recyclers.
Responsible electronics recycling provides important benefits, such as:
- Reducing environmental and human health impacts from improper recycling;
- Increasing access to quality reusable and refurbished equipment to those who need them; and
- Reducing energy use and other environmental impacts associated with mining and processing of virgin materials conserving our limited natural resources.
Both the existing certification programs share common elements that ensure responsible recycling of used electronics. These programs advance best management practices and offer a way to assess the environmental, worker health, and security practices of entities managing used electronics. Specifically, these certification programs are based on strong environmental standards which maximize reuse and recycling, minimize exposure to human health or the environment, ensure safe management of materials by downstream handlers, and require destruction of all data on used electronics.
Certified electronics recyclers have demonstrated through audits and other means that they continually meet specific high environmental standards and safely manage used electronics. Once certified, the recycler is held to the particular standard by continual oversight by the independent accredited certifying body. A certification accreditation board accredits certifying bodies and oversees certifying bodies to ensure that they meet specific responsibilities and are competent to audit and provide certification. EPA supports and will continue to push for continuous improvement of electronics recycling practices and standards.
In February 2012, the EPA agreed to provide technical assistance in the areas of environmental and public health to the R2 and e-Stewards standards:
- Response to e-Stewards Invitation, February 23, 2012 (PDF) (1 pp, 182K)
- Response to R2 Solutions Invitation, March 5, 2012 (PDF) (1 pp, 189K)
Finding a Certifying Body
ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) is the organization that accredits certifying bodies in the United States. They provide an updated list of which certifying body has attained accreditation to which standard .
Finding Certified Electronics Recyclers
Contact R2 Solutions and e-Stewards for the respective list of certified electronics recyclers, or see a Map of Certified Electronics Refurbishing and Recycling Facilities. EPA does not audit or certify facilities for conformance with any electronics recycling standard.
Information on Exports
EPA will assist exporters in obtaining documentation from developing countries on whether the export of certain used electronics to that country is legal. This assistance can be obtained upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or through letter: USEPA (5304P), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, DC 20460.
Requests should include the following:
- Name of the countries of import and transit.
- If transit will occur, name of port(s) of transit.
- Complete name, address and contact information for the importer and destination facility (if different).
- Identification of the specific types of used or scrap electronics to be sent, including description of the type of processing, if any, prior to export from the US (e.g., used desktop computers, sorted CRT glass cullet that has been cleaned of all coatings, whole or shredded circuit boards).
- A description of the manner in which the used or scrap electronics will be handled in the importing country (e.g., refurbished, remanufactured, processed to facilitate recycling, smelted, used directly as a raw material, etc.).
Reference to specific websites above is for informational purposes only and is not a reflection of EPA endorsement.