SERI and RIOS are working to build more online programs for education on EHS management systems. | S_L/Shutterstock

Companies with R2-certified facilities will be able to access discounted RIOS environmental health and safety management resources through a new partnership.

Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), which manages the R2 standard, and the Recycling Industry Operating Standard (RIOS) Certification program on Jan. 6 announced their partnership. By working together, the organizations said they will “provide electronics refurbishers and recyclers world-wide more resources and training about environmental, health and safety, and quality management systems.”

In an interview, Corey Dehmey, executive director of SERI, said the partnership does not mean there are any changes to the requirements for attaining certification to either standard. And they remain independent, separate certifications, he added.

Instead, the collaboration is initially focused on expanding access to RIOS resources for R2-certified companies. For the past couple years, SERI has been looking at how it can better integrate environmental, health and safety (EHS) management system requirements into the R2 standard, Dehmey said. Started by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), RIOS is one management standard that R2 companies can use to satisfy the EHS requirements in the R2 standard.

With the partnership, the written details of the RIOS standard will be made publicly available and viewable free of charge, a change from the past. It will still cost money to become a certified member of RIOS, but this price will be discounted for R2-certified companies, a savings that Dehmey said is significant for many firms seeking certification.

“With the new affiliated rate being offered to R2 companies, the cost-benefit ratio is better than it was, especially for smaller companies,” Dehmey said.

The discount means cheaper access to a key RIOS resource for electronics recycling firms: a 26-chapter RIOS implementation guide. This “do it yourself” option for implementing an EHS management system is a vital tool, particularly when a company is new to having such a system.

Dehmey recounted his own experience joining an electronics recycling company 12 years ago and being tasked with figuring out how to attain R2 certification. That meant developing an EHS management system, but with his background in IT, Dehmey was unfamiliar with how to go about it. That’s the same scenario the RIOS guide aims to assist with.

“I can’t say enough, it’s a great resource that not enough people know about,” he said.

SERI and RIOS are also working to build more online programs for education on EHS management systems, Dehmey said, adding that “this is just the beginning of collaboration.”

Future areas of interest for the organizations include additional integration of the audit process for both standards, as well as a general increased focus on education for certified companies, Dehmey said.

More stories about certification standards