MAY 2010
                                        

EPA certifies first electronics recyclers

Certified recyclers follow defined protocols to reduce energy consumption and to handle hazardous waste properly.

Through a new electronics recycling certification program, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking steps to ensure that electronics recyclers adhere to highly protective standards for workers and the environment in processing pre-owned electronics.

This new certification process also means that recycled materials will not be shipped overseas without the consent of the designated country.

Three companies nationwide have received this new designation – called Responsible Recycling Practices Certification. The first, and only certified recycler in the mid-Atlantic region is E-structors, Inc. of Elkridge, Maryland. TechTurn of Austin, Texas, and Waste Management of Minnesota were also certified as electronic recycling firms.

E-Structors, founded in 2003, operates primarily on a contractual basis with organizations that have significant volumes of pre-owned electronics to recycle. As a certified recycler, the company follows a business model of reuse, refurbishment and recycling of electronics.

The protocols required of certified recyclers help to reduce energy and natural resource consumption, greenhouse gases and hazardous waste. Recyclers are not permitted to burn or landfill certain materials.

If electronics are going to be sold for reuse, the recycler must show that all personal data has been cleared or destroyed, that the equipment has been tested and is in working condition, and that the equipment is packaged properly. A recycler must exercise due diligence to ensure appropriate management of the materials throughout the recycling chain, whether domestic or international.

To apply for certification, electronics recyclers should contact either SGS or Perry Johnson Registrars to receive certification, provided they meet the rigorous certification standards. Both SGS and Perry Johnson Registrars are inspection, verification, testing and certification companies.

As accredited certifying bodies for certification, SGS and Perry Johnson Registrars are required to list companies they have certified on their respective websites.