President’s Letter – Status Update on Final Disposition of IT

By Barbara Rembiesa, President & CEO of IAITAM


Final disposition of IT assets and the security of data during disposal are included in two of the major issues for 2015 and beyond:  world-wide dumping of electronics containing dangerous materials and data/privacy breaches.  Laws are changing rapidly as is the governance associated with these problems, leading to an increased need for ongoing and rigorous due diligence when making disposal choices.  In this issue of ITAK, updates on final disposition are discussed to help you remain highly effective.  I also want to give you an update on the ITAD vendor certification based on the newly revised R2 Standard (R2:2013) which has additional requirements for downstream due diligence and data security.  Early in the roll out, rumor had it that many ITAD vendors would be hard pressed to make the December 31, 2014 deadline for certification.  As the governing body for R2, SERI’s (Sustainable Electronic Recycling International) Executive Director John Lingelbach answered the question:

 “We will not be extending the deadline for the transition to the R2:2013 Standard.  Numbers are changing daily, but we anticipate that 80% to 85% of R2 certified companies are on track for completing the transition before the December 31 deadline.  We are extremely pleased that so many recyclers and refurbishers have successfully implemented the rigorous new requirements of the R2:2013 Standard.  It is a significant achievement that raises the bar for the entire industry.”

Conformance to the new version of the standard is a significant indicator of the influence that the R2 Standard is exerting on the previously unmonitored ITAD and recycling industry.  John also mentioned that the R2 geographic footprint has grown significantly and now includes 19 countries.  That comment led into my next question on the overall availability of safe and appropriate disposition services across the globe.  In addition to accessibility concerns, world news has raised awareness of the deadliness of the informal recycling that is taking place.  According to Lingelbach, an emerging trend is working on these issues where previously there had been little or no access to safe and sustainable repair and recycling facilities:

“Market-driven partnerships are forming in which high-tech recyclers provide training and protective gear to low-tech recyclers who, in turn, sell the materials they collect and demanufacture to the high-tech recyclers for processing.  The benefit: low-tech recyclers continue to have a stream of income as collectors and demanufacturers, and high-tech facilities are able to safely process the materials while producing higher yields of precious metals and other recoverable materials.

Market-driven and locally based solutions such as this one offer the greatest opportunities for long-term success and sustainability.  Clearly efforts to ban trade and global partnerships have not worked.  The better approach is to offer informal recyclers training and the opportunity to work safely in partnership with certified facilities.  This will become increasingly important as electronics use continues to rapidly expand throughout Asia and Africa, further fueling the urgent need for local repair and recycling facilities that are safe and sustainable.  R2 Certified facilities are playing an important role in bringing about this change.  There is no question that much still needs to be done to make electronics recycling safer around the world, but it is encouraging to see these initial small steps taking place.”

About Barbara Rembiesa