R2 Solutions says its standard follows Basel Convention

R2 Solutions says its standard follows Basel Convention

By Editorial Staff, E-Scrap News

April 11, 2014

R2 Solutions recently argued its certification is "fully consistent" with international trade agreements, a claim that has drawn the ire of the Basel Action Network (BAN).

R2 Solutions' FAQ document, released April 5, asserts the R2:2013 certification holds verified firms to all applicable international trade laws, including the Basel Convention. "The export requirements of the Standard are fully consistent with international hazardous waste trade laws," the document reads.

Combating the perception that the R2 standard lacks sufficient export standards, R2 Solutions says its list of hazardous "Focus Materials," which include polychlorinated biphenyls and CRT glass, "largely tracks" a list of "hazardous or of concern" e-scrap components identified in a 1998 amendment to the Convention. Moreover, the certification body cites language appearing in its recently revised standard that includes a broad mandate that certified recycling facilities must "comply with all applicable environmental, health and safety … legal requirements."

BAN, which has vigorously pushed its e-Stewards certification as the more export-conscious of the certifications, issued a response to R2's document. The organization's press release states the R2 standard "was created in the U.S. for those U.S. stakeholders who are in disagreement with the Basel Convention."

BAN's statement also argues R2 "fails to control the list of hazardous materials prescribed by Basel," a view point echoed in its "Five Fundamental Flaws: A Concise Critique of the R2:2013," released in 2013.

The certificantion comparison debate has long been a divisive one within the industry, with e-scrap export policy proving to be a constant focal point.

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The Certification Debate

It's time for the leadership at BAN and R2 to put aside their differences and work together to develop a single set of standards that we can all live with,  This constant bickering between the two organizations is a self-indugent waste of everyone's time.

Basel Ban Amendment vs. Basel Convention

E-Scrap News should consider a primer describing the differences between the Basel Convention (which has list of approved export materials in Annex IX) and the Basel Ban Amendment.   Basel Action Network (BAN) is a proponent of amending the  Basel Convention as written.  But the Ban Amendment has not actually passed.   E-Stewards incorporates aspects of the still-unpassed Basel Ban Amendment, and some national governments have incorporated portions of the proposed Amendment in their national laws.  R2 would require respecting the national laws, but does not impose the terms of the controversial Ban Amendment on other nations.

As one example, Basel Convention Annex IX B1110 explicitly allows export for repair, explicitly including CRTs for repair.  E-Stewards explicitly disallows it, based on the proposed Basel Ban Amendment.