Why are e-Stewards and R2 Certifications Important in E-recycling?

In the field of e-waste recycling, two certifications particularly carry a lot of weight. These are e-Stewards and R2 certificates. But what does it exactly mean to be validated by these two certifications, and why are they important?

Let’s find out!

What is e-Stewards Certification?

This is one of the most crucial certifications for any electronic waste recycling company that considers itself serious.

Also, if you want to tell whether or not a recycler adheres to disposal regulations, this is one of the most unique identifiers to use to weed them out. Reason is because for one to be e-Stewards certified, there are some strict requirements they are expected to meet. They include:

  • No exportation of e-waste to third world nations
  • Passing annual third party audits
  • Operating a management system to ensure all laws are duly complied with
  • Demonstrating the entire supply chain follows a downstream disposition of all hazardous material
  • No use of prison labor

What is R2 Certification?

This was effected in 2008 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the introduction of the Responsible Recycling Practices for Use in Accredited Certifications Programs.

R2 ensures that e recycling companies follow EPA’s e-waste disposal regulations to the letter. This program was later updated in 2013 to ensure applicants would be more transparent and also meet a set of more best practice requirements.

To be furnished with R2 certification, the recycler needs to meet a number of requirements which include:

  • Good selection and management of downstream vendors
  • Employing safe storage practices
  • Employing data destruction practices that are generally accepted
  • Financial responsibility
  • An effective security program

The Benefits of Working with a Certified Recycler

An electronics disposal company that possesses both e-Stewards and R2 certifications demonstrates that it is responsible, both from an environmental and social perspective, as well as transparent in its downstream disposition.

Not only that, it goes to show these are companies that carry out extensive data protection through chain-of-custody documentation and data destruction that are open to audit. e-Steward and R2 certificates are also a sign of a company that truly complies with the day’s e-waste disposal laws – which includes the Basel Convention.


Moreover, these recyclers help to curb some known negative effects of irresponsible recycling on both the environment and human health; cut down on energy use and reduce the environmental impacts brought about by mining and processing of virgin substances; and boost access to quality reusable and refurbished equipment.

Why R2 and e-Stewards are Important

They may be similar, but both these certification programs have their differences. Thus, an electronic recycling company that possesses both proves that it enforces and promotes responsible recycling of old assets.

Particularly, the R2 and e-Stewards are a mark to show the company upholds robust environmental standards which make the most of reuse and recycling, decrease exposure to the environment, carry out data destruction on all old equipment, and see to it that downstream associates practice safe management of materials.

Next time you go looking for a recycler, make it a point to confirm they have these two very important documents.

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