Between R2, RIOS, and e-Stewards, the environmental/recycling standards landscape can get really confusing. What is RIOS and how does it compare to R2? What is e-Stewards and why would I need it? Which standards make sense for me?
Below we review each of the major environmental standards you may consider for your business. We’ll describe each of these standards, explain how they relate to other standards and what is unique about each of them.
e-Stewards (Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment)
Introduced in 2009, the e-Stewards® Standard for Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment© is a comprehensive set of performance requirements created specifically for the electronics recycling and asset recovery industries, and other processors, set into the framework of the global environmental management system standard known as ISO 14001.
How Does e-Stewards Work with Other Standards?
ISO 14001 is fully integrated into the e-Stewards Standard, resulting in dual certification to both ISO 14001 and the e-Stewards Standard in one audit process. Version 2 of the e-Stewards Standard contains ISO 14001:2004, while Version 3 contains ISO 14001:2015.
Written for international use, the e-Stewards Standard is consistent with:
- international waste trade laws (Basel Convention and OECD treaties)
- data privacy requirements of customers
- environmental and health & safety management system norms
- occupational health & safety best practice
- social accountability values
e-Stewards is a global team of individuals, institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies upholding a safe, ethical, and globally responsible standard for e-waste recycling and refurbishment. We stop the export of illegal hazardous e-waste to developing nations and create a safe, green, and just world through sharing and using the principled and practical standard for electronics recycling and reuse.
Basel Action Network: Oversees e-Stewards
Basel Action Network (BAN), an international nonprofit based in Seattle that believes “creating a sustainable world where society’s discarded items remain a force for good. We believe that true recycling should be both environmentally and socially responsible.”
What is Unique About e-Stewards?
e-Stewards has a couple of different designations: “For Enterprise” and “For Recyclers.” Being an e-Stewards Enterprise means you’re committed to our cause of stopping the illegal exportation of hazardous and illegal e-waste, and your organization will do its best to only use certified e-Stewards recyclers. However, any organization can use an e-Stewards certified recycler for their asset disposition.
e-Stewards certification is the highest standard for globally responsible electronics recycling and reuse. It prohibits the export of hazardous electronic waste from developed to developing countries while allowing viable technology to be reused. It includes the ISO 14001 standard, so it is a “one-stop shop” for responsible used electronics management. Certified e-Stewards recyclers are audited by accredited certification bodies to assure conformity to the e-Stewards Standard, including downstream accountability for all materials to final disposition.
RIOS (Recycling Industry Operating Standard)
First published in 2005, the Recycling Industry Operating Standard™ (RIOS™) is an integrated Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety Management System Certification that is designed for recycler, by recyclers. With RIOS, recyclers are able to obtain certification without having to fit their system into a program designed for manufacturers. By integrating the management system, recyclers are able to more effectively manage their system, which results in stronger health and safety programs, greater environmental responsibility, and better operational efficiency.
Whether recycling paper, plastic, metals, textiles, electronics or tires, RIOS has a place in the facility. Furthermore, RIOS can be adopted in any country in the world. RIOS is a global standard.
RIOS integrates the key operational elements of a robust management system, bringing quality, environmental and health and safety together into one streamlined system.
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries: Oversees RIOS
Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is the “Voice of the Recycling Industry” located in Washington D.C. ISRI represents more than 1,300 companies in 21 chapters in the U.S. and more than 40 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development.
How Does RIOS Work with Other Standards?
In 2008, RIOS and R2 collaborated to create the R2/RIOS brand. RIOS can be used to meet Provision 1 of the R2 Standard. RIOS integrates the key operational elements found in other standards, such as ISO 9001 (QMS), ISO 14001 (EMS), and OHSAS 18001 (OHSMS), bringing them together into one streamlined management system.
What is Unique About RIOS?
Specifically designed for the recycling industry because ISO and OHSAS certification bodies lacked a single standard appropriate to fully certify an EHSMS at an electronics recycling facility. RIOS incorporates the industry-relevant EHSMS elements found in the ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and OHSAS 18001 (health and safety) standards, while eliminating the overlap that would occur if all three standards were adopted. The RIOS standard is based on the plan-check-do-act model for continual improvement that forms the basis of the ISO 9001 standard. Rather than incorporate parts of three different standards, scrap recyclers save time and money by adopting the single RIOS standard. R2:2013 has approved RIOS to certify EHSMS for purposes of its R2:2013 Standard.
R2 (Electronics Reuse and Recycling Industry)
The R2:2013 Standard is the leading global certification standard for the electronics reuse and recycling industry. The requirements in the R2 Standard are designed to protect people, protect the environment, protect data, and preserve resources. Each provision of the R2 Standard is designed to help ensure the quality, transparency, and environmental and social responsibility, of R2 Certified electronics recycling facilities.
Sustainable Electronics Recycling International: Oversees R2
Based in Boulder, Colorado, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) is the housing body and ANSI-accredited Standards Development Organization for the R2 Standard. While development and oversight of the R2 certification program is SERI’s primary activity, SERI is engaged in other activities which will help accomplish its mission.
How Does R2 work with other standards?
It is not a requirement to have an integrated system for R2 certification. It is, however recommended it offers significant advantages in terms of reduced paperwork, expenses and time. As long as the organization is able to demonstrate that they are certified by an accredited CB to R2 and 14001/18001 or RIOS, it meets the requirements of having an EHS system. Embedded within the R2 standard is ISO 14001 as a framework.
What is Unique About R2?
Many of the European countries to which recyclables are exported have higher standards than the US. R2 makes allowances for exports of re-usable material found in computers and clearly specifies ground rules placing regulations on exports. This encourages developing nations to adopt their own system of best practices. E-Stewards, on the other hand, bans exportation altogether.
How Do I Know What is Best for My Business?
Many factors come into play in deciding the best environmental standard for your business. A few of the major ones include:
- Location(s) of your facilities and where your materials are shipped
- Upstream and downstream requirements
- Customer mandates and regulations
Glacier Consulting is certified in all three of these standards as well as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 (ISO 4500), and can assist you in making the best choice for your business. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to start the conversation!
Join us for a free educational webinar on Thursday April 26, 2018 at 2 PM presented by Scott Jones, Founder and Senior Consultant. Register today for “RIOS, e-Stewards and R2 – What Makes Sense For You?”