Waste Management, Inc., the largest waste services and recycling company in North America, has announced that its subsidiary WM Recycle America is implementing the Responsible Recycling (R2) Program for electronics recyclers. The R2 Program establishes a set of accepted practices that helps protect the environment and workers’ health and safety during the handling of e-waste, provides the ability for third parties to monitor activity and offers greater transparency in the fast-growing electronics recycling sector.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency facilitated the development of the R2 Program which included representatives from the federal and state governments, electronic manufacturers, electronic refurbishing and recycling professionals and trade associations. The certification of the program is accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).
Older electronics may contain potentially harmful materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium, but may also contain valuable materials that can be reclaimed in new devices. To ensure proper handling of this e-waste, the R2 program requires participating companies to implement an environmental, health, and safety management system that tracks materials and minimizes emissions and worker exposure during electronics recycling operations. Certified recyclers must also obtain documentation from foreign governments prior to shipping certain materials abroad. Companies must exercise due diligence to ensure safe and accountable handling of e-waste throughout the recycling chain, both domestic and international.
“Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing commodities in the waste stream, and many consumers, retailers and manufacturers want to ensure their discarded electronics are handled safely and responsibly,” said Patrick DeRueda, president of WM Recycle America. “Waste Management has rigorous internal standards around the safe processing of e-waste, and by implementing the R2 protocols we are able to further demonstrate our commitment to leading the way in responsible environmental and safety practices.”
Waste Management’s Minneapolis eCycling facility is one of the first facilities in the industy to be certified to the R2 Program standards and the company is in the process of certifying all of its electronics recycling facilities.
WM Recycle America’s adoption of the R2 standards is a continuation of the company’s dedication to stringent e-waste processing standards. In 2002, the company developed and published its own electronics recycling stewardship pledge to protect workers and the environment. In 2008, WM Recycle America reinforced its own corporate standards by becoming a Founder of the Basel Action Network’s (BAN) E-Stewards Program.
To encourage consumers to dispose of electronic devices in an environmentally sound manner, in 2007 WM Recycle America established a nation-wide network of drop-off locations and has joined forces with Sony Electronics and LG Electronics USA on comprehensive programs for consumers to recycle their old Sony, LG, Zenith and GoldStar branded devices at no cost.
Joining the R2 Program supports Waste Management’s ongoing sustainability program, particularly to meet its target of recycling 20 million tons of material by 2020.
About Waste Management
Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management services in North America. Our subsidiaries provide collection, transfer, recycling and resource recovery, and disposal services. We are also the largest residential recycler and a leading developer, operator and owner of waste-to-energy facilities in the United States. Our customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more visit www.wm.com or www.thinkgreen.com
WM Recycle America is a subsidiary of Waste Management and is the largest residential recycler in North America. WM Recycle America’s business lines include processing many types of consumer-generated recyclables and finding the best markets for the recyclable commodities produced. In its capacity of providing processing and marketing services, WM Recycle America offers a wide variety of recycling options for municipal, manufacturing, commercial and residential customers.