[Note: “Text in italics and quotes” below are quoted directly from the R2v3 second draft standard.]

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the second draft of the R2v3 standard – specifically, the introduction. This covered applicability and scope as well as Sanctioned Interpretations and highlighted some areas we want to pay attention to. Part 2 reviewed the Definitions section – some changes, additions, deletions, and the Focus Materials Table.

In Part 3, we started digging into the standard’s Core Requirements (CRs) – the auditable portion of the R2v3 standard. Specifically, the Scope and Hierarchy of Responsible Management Strategies.

In Part 4 of the series, we covered two short, but very important, Core Requirements – CR 3, EH&S Management System, and CR 4, Legal and Other Requirements.

In Part 5 which addressed Throughput Tracking, we discussed what inbound and out outbound summary reports should include, and how to address negative value.

In Part 6 we discussed sorting, categorization, and processing, including a helpful flowchart on how to process, including references to applicable Appendices.  

In Part 7, we covered Data Security. Data Security ensures that the electronics we are handling are protected from data breaches, through the use of secured areas, data sanitization, and compliance with legal and regulatory requirements for this Core Requirement.

In Part 8, we reviewed Focus Materials (FMs), and the changed requirements from the R2:2013 standard (as well as some concerns we still have with it).  

In Part 9, we reviewed Core Requirement 9 – Facility Requirements, which now encompasses Storage, Facility Security, Insurance, Closure Plan, and Financial Responsibility.  

In Part 10, we discussed Core Requirement – 10 – Transport (R2:2013 Provision 12) which only had minimal updates.  

In Part 11 and onward, we now move into the Appendices – starting with Appendix A – Downstream Recycling Chain. The R2:2013 standard had due diligence requirements covered in a variety of locations – Provisions 3, 5,6, 8, & 11 – while the new version consolidates all of these requirements into one Appendix. 

Appendix A, or App A as we’ll refer to it going forward, has a huge benefit from earlier versions of the standard. As we briefly discussed in Part 8, SERI now has modified the requirement for tracking downstream chains.  

Let’s review App A clause by clause. The general principle is to manage the downstream recycling chain (downstream vendors, or DSVs) in conformance with the R2 Standard.

In A.1, an R2 facility manages the movement of R2 Controlled Streams (what we used to call R2 Controlled Equipment and materials) through their downstream chain to final disposition or the first R2 facility, using the REC (R2 Equipment Categorization); and confirming conformance by each downstream vendor to Appendix A.

This ensures that we have traceability through our downstream for each vendor in the chain and that it is managed through to at least an R2 facility. This does NOT absolve the facility from doing DSV due diligence; we’ll discuss that in more detail in A.7 below.

A.2 discusses negative value – which we’ve discussed in several previous blog posts, most notably in Part 5. Even though the material has no value, or even costs us, we still have to follow the guidelines for proper handling, transport, and disposal. App A states: 

“(2) If the equipment, components, or materials handled have a negative value, then the R2 Facility shall:

(a) Maintain pollution liability insurance addressing these risks, and 

(b) Include this equipment, components, and materials in the closure plan and financial instrument calculations in accordance with Core Requirement 9.”

A.2 has introduced some flexibility here, moving the pollution liability requirements from the Core Requirements so that it is not a requirement for all R2 facilities; however, pollution liability insurance will still most likely be required for most R2 facility, particularly if they handle materials that incur a cost to process.

A.3 addresses transboundary movements and the need to verify import/export compliance for international shipments in accordance with legal compliance plan in CR 4, including a) regulated waste, b) hazardous waste (a sub-category of regulated waste), and c) other information/documentation required by law. So, the intent is that before transboundary shipments, the R2 Facility will verify the related requirements (outlined in legal compliance plan) to confirm compliance with all requirements.

A.4, A.5, and A.6 talks about transparency. A.4 requires a facility to demonstrate complete downstream recycling chain of all R2 controlled streams to final disposition – or – register the portion of the downstream recycling chain that it manages with SERI, including all R2 Controlled Streams to final disposition or the first R2-registered facility, to enable mapping of the entire chain, and register any changes prior to shipment.

An R2 Facility can choose to demonstrate complete downstream recycling control or can register the portion that it manages with SERI. While some facilities have a robust and mature DSV management process in place, someone who is new to the industry or the R2 Standard may not. The addition of registration through SERI relieves these newbies from the burden of full DSV management (if the DSVs are R2 certified). The danger in this requirement (registration with SERI) is data security – how will SERI maintain data to ensure that it is not inadvertently revealed to others (both customers and DSVs). 

I also have an issue with this statement personally, from an ongoing implementation standpoint. We are required, prior to any shipment, to ensure that there have been no changes to the entire downstream recycling chain. Practically, that will never happen. No shipping clerk is going to verify the integrity of the entire downstream chain every single time. The Technical Advisory committee notes that “This may include identifying things such as the permissible material types; proper names and/or codes used for shipping; packaging requirements; permissible quantities; required shipping forms; and any permits or authorizations required for the shipment.”

My recommendation is to have a notification signed by your downstream vendor that they will notify you of any changes in their downstream recycling chain before receiving any shipments from your facility. This will put the burden on the supplier, rather than the R2 Facility, to identify changes in the chain.

A.5 continues this topic, requiring that 

“(5) An R2 Facility shall provide, to each supplier to the R2 Facility that owns or arranges for transfer of equipment, components, or materials to the R2 Facility, upon request and subject to agreed upon confidentiality restrictions: 

(a) The names and locations of all downstream vendors in the recycling chain that handle said supplier’s R2 Controlled Streams, and 

(b) Notification prior to shipping the supplier’s R2 Controlled Streams to a new or changed downstream vendor.”

So upon request, we will have to be notified, or notify, if any of the Controlled Stream is going to a new or changed DSV – and do so before shipping. While there is no timeframe called out in the standard itself, it does imply that this is done promptly. The addition of the phrase “upon request” is helpful in not making it mandatory.

The Technical Advisory Committee states that “Under Appendix A (5), the R2 Facility must provide full transparency of the downstream chain until the point of final disposition. And, where the R2 Facility does not track past the first R2 Certified downstream vendor, they would be required to obtain the remainder of the downstream chain from the next R2.”

A.6 requires an R2 Facility to verify that R2 Controlled streams are received at the next downstream vendor’s facility via commercially-accepted records.

A.7 and A.8 discusses DSV Qualification – A.7 for R2 certified DSVs and A.8 for non-R2 certified DSV’s. Any downstream vendor that loses its R2 Certification must be treated as a non-R2 facility and verified in accordance with the non-R2 requirements.

These clauses are also the subject of several comments (pages and pages of ‘em) from the first draft. While many comment submitters felt that downstream due diligence should stop at the first R2 certified facility, others questioned where the liability lies – with the certification body, the auditor, or SERI – if an infraction is discovered, since legal requirements (and sometimes contractual obligations) hold significant implications if not executed properly.  

“Downstream Vendor Qualification 

(7) If a downstream vendor is R2 Certified, then verification that the R2 Certification is active with a certification scope, including applicable Process Requirements, consistent with the equipment, components, and materials received and the processes performed, shall qualify the downstream vendor to receive shipments without further downstream tracking and verification, which is alternately addressed through the downstream vendor’s R2 Certification.”

Let’s drill down a little more on A.7. The Technical Advisory Committee, in their comment disposition, state, 

“Appendix A (7) provides a streamlined process for verification of an R2 Certified downstream vendor. This process is intended to provide R2 Facilities flexibility in verifying downstreams for the purpose of the R2 Standard only, but does not otherwise replace due diligence, or industry best practices, or other requirements outside of the standard. 

Where required, an R2 Facility may request full transparency of the downstream chain under Appendix A (5). This allows each R2 Facility to determine where to stop downstream tracking for their purposes and reduce unnecessary administrative burden where the R2 Facility deems that further tracking is unnecessary.”

A.8 is much more lengthy, and links to several other Appendices, depending on what the non-R2 facility is doing in support of the supply chain.  

  • A.8.a addresses FM Management (CR 8); 
  • A.8.b addresses EHSMS requirements (CR 3) and Legal / Other Requirements (CR 4) other than a non-discrimination policy (CR 4.d.5 and 4.g); 
  • A.8.c covers applicable legal permits; 
  • A.8.d covers Data Sanitization, and refers back to both CR 6 and Appendix B – Data Sanitization; 
  • A.8.e discusses testing, refurbishing, and repairing the equipment/components received, and links to CR 6 and Appendix C – Test and Repair; 
  • A.8.f addresses Material Recovery, and links the Appendix E – Materials Recovery; 
  • A.8.g links to Appendix F – brokering; and A.8.h discusses throughput tracking.

Since a non-R2 certified DSV may not be conforming to the requirements of R2, A.8 has been revised as follows: “Adheres to a documented system to manage environmental, health, and safety risks and legal requirements. The management system shall include, at a minimum, the components of Core Requirement 3(d) … “

And, so you don’t have to flip back to that section to find out what that means, here it is for you:

“General Principle – To use practices and controls designed to protect the health and safety of workers, the public, and the environment under both normal and (reasonably foreseeable) exceptional circumstances. 

(d) An R2 Facility shall:  

(1) Demonstrate the expertise, knowledge, and technical capability to process each type of electronic equipment, component, and material it accepts in a manner that takes into account legal compliance as well as the need to protect the health and safety of workers, the public, and the environment, and 

(2) Identify, analyze, and demonstrate effective control of important environmental impacts, and health and safety risks that it can control and those that it can influence, both internal to the R2 Facility and through its recycling chain activities, and 

(3) Maintain a process to periodically evaluate the risk of exposure to hazardous substances such as mercury, lead, beryllium, cadmium, PCBs, phosphor compounds, flame retardants, silica dust, and hexavalent chromium through processing or handling of electronic equipment, components, and materials, and

(4) Maintain processes to visually inspect electronic equipment and components received and handled for any conditions or damage that may result in adverse environmental, health or safety incidents during handling, storage or processing of the equipment, and controls for the containment, segregation, and storage of items requiring special handling, and 

(5) Adhere to good housekeeping standards, including keeping all work and storage areas clean and orderly. Housekeeping for all areas of the facility shall be planned, regularly implemented, and monitored, and 

(6) Provide sanitary facilities for workers, and 

(7) Prevent the consumption of food and beverages in areas not maintained free of contaminants, and  

 (8) Provide the same level of care to the entire workforce, including staff, volunteers, consultants, temporary workers, and anyone else performing activities under its direction, and 

(9) Designate a qualified employee(s) or contract worker(s) to coordinate its efforts to promote worker health and safety, and environmental protection. This designated individual(s) shall be identified to all employees and two-way communication shall be proactive and effective between employees and this individual regarding potential hazards and how best to address them.” 

So, while they don’t have to have a formally registered EHSMS, they still need to address environmental aspects and impacts; health and safety hazards and risks, restricted substances (RoHS), good housekeeping, and have an EMS rep. While a non-R2 DSV doesn’t have to go through a registrar to independently demonstrate a working EHSMS, the burden may then fall to the R2 Facility itself to audit these requirements to demonstrate suitability of the DSV. Keep this in mind when selecting your DSVs, and look at the risk/benefit analysis when choosing them.

But wait – we’re not done yet!  

Next up: Appendix B – Data Sanitization

Can’t wait for the entire series and want to engage with us now? Contact us to start the process!

Interested in getting some assistance on R2 implementation? Check out our other blog posts or contact us to get more info.