Federal regulators study certification effectiveness

Federal regulators study certification effectiveness

By Dan Leif, E-Scrap News

Aug. 8, 2014

In a report assessing its progress on electronics stewardship, the federal government indicated it is moving forward on major studies in several e-scrap-related areas, including a look at how the e-Stewards and R2 standards are being implemented.

The study on the effectiveness of industry certifications is mentioned in an update to the National Strategy for Electronics Stewardship (NSES), which was released earlier this week by the Interagency Task Force on Electronics Stewardship.

Due to be completed this fall, the certification assessment is focusing on R2 and e-Stewards, the e-scrap industry's two major environmental standards. The goal of the study, spearheaded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency alongside other federal entities, is "to determine whether the standards are implemented transparently and consistently and are achieving the desired results."

The government noted the study is 80 percent complete and relies on interviews with key electronics recycling stakeholders as well as observation of certification audits conducted by registrars.

The federal entities guiding the NSES, which was established in 2011 to help bring environmental practices into electronics purchasing and disposal, have a particular interest in ensuring the systems surrounding R2 and e-Stewards are playing out as planned: The NSES directs much of the federal government's end-of-life electronics to R2 and/or e-Stewards-certified facilities.

In addition, the recently released update to the NSES trumpets the fact that since the federal strategy was established three years ago, the number of e-scrap facilities certified to either R2 or e-Stewards standards has jumped from approximately 100 to more than 565.

The NSES progress report notes the certification study will result in a final report showing findings as well as areas needing improvement, but it does not say when such a report is scheduled for release.

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