What does R2 mean?

While all electronics refurbishers & recyclers claim to be responsible and follow the rules, the truth is, not everyone actually does what they say they’ll do. They’ll all tell you they’ll protect the environment, your data, and your brand equity. They’ll say they won’t cut corners and never illegally ship anything overseas. But how do you know?

R2 Certification is how you know.

R2 is a voluntary global sustainability standard for the responsible reuse and recycling of electronics and is now adopted by over 1000 facilities in over 40 countries. R2 prioritizes a hierarchy of reuse before recycling and is a comprehensive, outcomes-oriented standard that includes best practices for protecting the environment, the health and safety of workers and communities, and data while complying with all applicable legal requirements and providing accountability throughout the entire processing of your equipment.

It’s built and continuously updated by an independent multistakeholder group, facilitated by SERI, an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer and non-profit organization. All R2 facilities are independently certified and audited by an accredited Certification Body. While this is the common framework for similar ISO/IEC standards, SERI adds more confidence to the R2 Certification programming by teaching facilities how to implement the standard, training auditors to audit properly to the standard, and checking the work of Accreditation and Certification bodies around the world to promote consistency and effectiveness in R2 Certifications.

All of which is what gives you the confidence that an R2 Certified facility will be responsible with your used electronics.

Benefits of R2

1. R2 Replaces the Need for Your Full Vendor Audit

We know that nobody will tell you “yes, while we’ll definitely be responsible with the stuff we can make money off of, we break e-waste laws and illegally ship your broken, untested devices to remote parts of the world so we can maximize our profits.” And nobody will say “those broken devices that we can’t power on…well, we can’t really sanitize the data on those devices so we just sell them as-is.” And you’ll never hear “eh, sure a visual inspection probably isn’t the best way to tell if a device is functional or not, but you know, that costs money and eats into our margins, so we don’t really test everything.” Yet that’s exactly what some facilities do.

The truth is, there are good and bad actors in every industry, and the electronics reuse and recycling business is no different. You absolutely should check our references and ask for our documentation, and you should visit our facility and even do an unannounced spot audit from time to time. But how do you really know that any partner is protecting your brand equity when they handle your used electronics – not only what your vendor does, but also what every one of their downstream vendors do with your used electronics all the way through processing.

Our R2 Certification is how you know and you can be confident we are doing the right thing. R2 isn’t just a management system – it’s an electronics sustainability standard, focused on ensuring positive outcomes. As an R2 Certified Facility, we are independently certified and audited to confirm we are conforming to the highest standards for electronics reuse and recycling in the world.

2. Born From a Multistakeholder Group and Managed by an Independent Global Nonprofit, R2 is Independent, Transparent, and Outcomes Oriented

Some standards are the product of an association that’s really built to further their members’ interests. Others are designed around a particular cause or issue. And some are just management systems, requiring a plan, but with no independent auditing of the actual practices to ensure compliance.

But R2 is different. The R2 Standard is built and maintained by a multistakeholder group called the R2 Technical Advisory Committee (R2 TAC), and is administered by the nonprofit organization, SERI.

The R2 TAC is equally represented by 3 volunteer groups – facilities who process used electronics for reuse and recycling, the customers of those facilities, and regulators, other nonprofits, academics, and industry experts – who all work in tandem to build and maintain a standard that includes the best practices for the industry as a whole. The R2 TAC is global, which insures the R2 Standard is also global, applicable and achievable around the world.

As an independent nonprofit organization, SERI operates with a singular focus – achieving electronics sustainability, which demands a holistic view of the entire electronics value chain. There are no members, no special interest groups, and no hidden agendas at play with the R2 Standard. SERI maintains a powerful layer of oversight to ensure compliance, and, as an ANSI accredited standards developer, SERI is independently held accountable as well.

All of this means you can be confident that choosing an R2 Certified partner like ours will achieve positive outcomes with your used electronics and meet your organizational goals.

3. R2 is Comprehensive

R2 isn’t just a data security standard, or an environmental standard, or a worker health and safety standard. R2 is an electronics sustainability standard, which means it is a data security standard AND an environmental standard AND a standard that protects worker health and safety, all in one. That means when you choose an R2 Certified Facility like ours, you are checking many boxes in your vendor selection process all at once.

4. R2 is Global

While we know not every organization is multinational, one of the benefits of R2 is that with over 1000 R2 Certified in 41+ countries around the world, R2 gives customers the ability to harmonize the quality of your electronics reuse and recycling practices all around the world, within one single Certification.

5. R2 Encourages Innovation and Adaptation to Meet a Continuously Changing World

Technology is always evolving, as is the electronics industry and each release of new devices. Today we are seeing major changes with the advancement of the IoT, with how devices transmit and store data, and with a shift from traditional computers to mobile devices. Plus, regulations are constantly changing and evolving, both within specific countries and regions as well as with international agreements such as the Basel Convention.

One of the strengths of the R2 Standard is that it does not prescribe one specific way for every facility to meet its requirements. Rather, R2 is designed to encourage innovation and adaptation at a facility level, allowing the standard to stay relevant and effective in continuously protecting the environment, communities, data, and worker’s health and safety, even as technology and regulations constantly change on a global scale.


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