Trade-In Tech
by on July 2, 2020

Whether for business or fun, there’s no doubt that people everywhere depend on consumer electronics. However, this huge demand for electronics does produce quite a bit of waste. In fact, experts estimate that20 to 50 million metric tons of electronic waste or e-waste are disposed of each year. Experts began working to solve this problem and, with that in mind, created the R2 certification.


In this article, you’re going to learn:

  • What R2 recycling is

  • Why it’s beneficial to have an R2 certification

  • Questions to ask yourself before getting your R2 certification

  • The steps needed to become R2 certified


If you’re ready to begin, let’s get started.


What is R2 Recycling?



Throughout the world, it seems like companies are working to make new products and get them to suppliers. While this is convenient for both companies and customers, it’s not great for the environment. Considering that, organizations began working to find ways for businesses to recycle electronics.


The R2 certification is an official standard geared towards electronics recyclers and resellers. The mission behind R2 recycling is to promote the preservation of resources, help the environment, and the safety of communities. This includes managing and electronic devices without lots of harmful emissions or waste generation happening during the recycling process.


Why Should I Become R2 Certified? (Benefits of Responsible Recycling)


After learning about responsible recycling, it makes sense to wonder what makes it so beneficial. Whether you're a consumer electronics wholesaler or you own a direct-to-consumer retail business, being R2 certified has its advantages. Here are the three main benefits of becoming a responsible electronics recycler.


1. Entering Into a New Business Avenue


If you’re wanting to enter into the wholesale electronics industry, but aren’t sure where to start, you might want to become an R2 recycler. By doing this, it ensures that your electronics are safely recycled and ready for use by another owner.


Also, many R2 certified goods fetch a higher price tag. Some retailers and customers won't even buy goods unless it has that certification in place. As a wholesaler, it also opens up more opportunities for you to enter the global electronics market. Having this certification is also great for helping your wholesale electronics company grow because you can enter into new business avenues.


2. R2 Recycling Keeps Private Data Safe


People, corporations, small businesses, schools, and other entities need to dispose of their outdated and/or non-functioning computers and other devices frequently. However, because these devices often contain data that needs to be protected from the hands of others, the data needs to be securely wiped from such devices.


When you become a company’s customer, you assume that they’ll keep your data safe and private. If electronics aren’t properly wiped when they’re recycled, various kinds of data can get harvested from them. These types of data can include passwords, financial information, and many other items you don’t want in the hands of thieves.


You wouldn’t want your electronic banking passwords getting into the hands of the wrong people. Likewise, businesses don’t want their data or that of their customers to be available to the whole world. 


Hospitals and other types of medical care facilities also place the utmost importance on data security. Without protecting their data, sensitive medical information from their patients might leak to the public and put these facilities out of business.


Unfortunately, factory resets don’t remove every bit of personal data from most electronic devices. R2 recycling standards require companies with this certification to meet strict data removal requirements.


3. Helping the Environment


Electronic devices can perform amazing feats. But, to power these devices, manufacturers must sometimes use a range of materials including lead, mercury, and cadmium. Unfortunately, some of these materials are extremely harmful if they come into contact with soil, water, and even air.


It’s understandable to assume that throwing away electronic devices and their components stops them from damaging the environment. Unfortunately, this is where the real problem begins. If you toss out electronics you don’t want, most of them will end up in already overcrowded landfills.


Not only does throwing out electronics harm the planet, but it might also be costing you money! Many of the electronic components that people and companies throw out aren’t worthless. By recycling your electronics, you can harvest parts and resell them.


You wouldn’t throw away a smartphone when it only needs a new battery. Likewise, it’s worth rethinking tossing out electronics due to one or two non-functioning components.


By getting your R2 certification, you’ll reduce your company’s impact on the environment and keep potentially valuable electronics out of landfills.


4. Gaining Access to Government Recycling Programs


One of the benefits of becoming R2 certified is that you will have access to many different government recycling programs. Much like businesses, the government must also replace their old and outdated electronics. Instead of repairing electronics, these organizations will need to either give them away or sell them.


When it's time to replace their electronics, the government entity tries to pass these items on to other government agencies first. If this does not work, they may choose to donate their used electronics to schools or nonprofits. Lastly, they may choose to sell their used electronics at significant price reductions.


The government will not choose to sell their used electronics to just any business. Data must be kept secure, and the electronics must be ethically recycled. Therefore, the government will choose to sell their electronics to businesses that are R2 certified. If your business is not R2 certified, you will not have access to such programs.


5. Taking Part in Smartphone Carrier Auctions


Another incredibly valuable, yet often underutilized way for electronics wholesalers to succeed is by attending smartphone carrier auctions. Smartphone carriers run auctions to sell their used phones and trade-in phone models. These auctions often offer substantial savings to businesses interested in purchasing phones to resell.


For smartphone carriers to feel comfortable in recycling the phones, they must only allow businesses that are R2 certified to purchase them. But, why is this the case? Like other companies, smartphone companies do not want to just sell their used products to any company because of the risk of data breaches.


A data breach takes place when private or otherwise protected data becomes exposed. Data breaches often lead to expensive lawsuits for companies, not to mention the time it takes to straighten these stressful events out. Therefore, most cell phone companies will choose to recycle their goods to R2 certified businesses only.


Without being R2 certified, your business is unlikely to have access to smartphone carrier auctions. Not having access to such auctions can put a damper on your business being able to buy wholesale electronics at cheap prices.


4 Questions to Ask Before Starting the R2 Certification Process



Considering the importance of receiving an R2 license, it’s understandable to have lots of questions. We’re here to help with answers to these questions and concerns. Here are some of the most common questions people ask before becoming R2 certified.


1. Is My Business Ready for the R2 Certification Process?


First things first, we recommend studying up on R2 standards. You need to understand what these standards entail and how they will affect your company overall. This can seem like a daunting task. But, it's an important one. Remember, R2 standards can change at any time, so make sure that you're reading up on current standards.


You’ll need to create documents, go over current business practices, plan ways to improve your facilities, carry out all proposed changes, and much more. There's a good chance that your facility will need to make some major changes to how it handles things to comply with R2 recycling standards.


These changes often cost quite a bit of time and money to put in place. Depending on the size and capabilities of your business, these costs might far exceed what you’re willing to spend.


2. How Long Does it Take to Receive an R2 License?


You’ll also want to consider the length of time it takes to receive an R2 license. Unfortunately, obtaining an R2 certification is not a quick process. SERI notes that it takes facilities, on average, about 6-12 months to complete all steps needed to receive their R2 certifications. It’s important to note that this is just an average. Owners of companies with larger facilities could see this process take much longer.


3. How Much Does it Cost to Become R2 Certified?


It’s understandable to want to learn about fees associated with obtaining an R2 license. Before getting the money set aside, it’s important to note that these fees can change over time. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to double-check official R2 fees by visiting SERI’s certification requirements.


As of this writing, the current fees are $2,000 each year and $1,250 each year if you’re running a non-profit. Your business is also responsible for paying an auditor’s fees and their travel costs. To cover costs associated with your audits, SERI recommends setting aside about $1,400 for each day of the audit plus travel expenses.


Also, it’s a good idea to have costs set aside to cover license fees associated with obtaining either ISO 14001 and 45001 or RIOS certification.


Even though it may seem like getting your R2 certification is expensive, keep in mind its costs are very minimal compared to the opportunities that open up.


4. Should I Hire Outside Help for Preparation Purposes?


Obtaining your R2 certification, as you’ll often hear, isn’t the easiest process. However, don’t let this discourage you from getting your R2 license. Many company owners find that preparing for this process is much easier with a little outside help.


For help with obtaining this certification, it might be time to hire an outside business consultant. While SERI doesn’t provide direct endorsements, it does provide an official list of consultants who’ve passed this organization’s auditor training program. If you’re looking for more helpful information, make sure to check out Trade-In Tech’s blog for tips on a range of wholesale electronics topics.


How to Get Your R2 Certification in 10 Steps


Source: Cornell


Now that you know why responsible recycling is so beneficial, it’s time to learn how to get your R2 Recycling certification. We’re going to break down this process into 10 steps. Let’s take a closer look at each step in the R2 certification process.


Step 1: Studying


You don’t want to wait until the last minute to learn about R2 recycling standards and what’s needed from your company. During this time, it’s also a good idea to develop the systems you plan to start using and start doing some studying. The more you prepare, the faster you can become an R2 certified wholesale supplier.


Luckily, SERI makes it pretty easy to do your homework! You can access a myriad of content on the SERI website. Also, sign up for the R2 newsletter to learn about changes to the standards as they occur. This helps you avoid applying changes to your facilities that are already outdated.


SERI also offers webinars, interactive training modules, guides, and a host of supporting documents. Take time to scour through these materials and familiarize yourself with R2 standards.


Step 2: Preparing and Gathering Information


As you start making changes, make sure to document everything that’s taking place. Speaking of documents, it’s also a good idea to start gathering business documents from your company’s past. Auditors will need to at least see records from the past three months of your business. Considering that, it’s a good idea to start gathering everything you’ll need now.


We also recommend creating preparation materials and sharing them with your team. These materials give everyone a clear idea of what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.


Step 3: Completing Provision 1


Before receiving your R2 license, your business will also need to get another certification that’s approved by the Environmental Health and Safety system. With that said, you do get to choose which type of program you want to complete. You’ll need to either complete a combination of ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 standards or obtain your RIOS certification.


Step 4: Making All Necessary Changes


It’s now time for the most labor and time-intensive step of the R2 recycling certification process. During this time, expect a bit of trial and error. Most likely, you and your team are going to face challenges implementing new challenges. Expect setbacks and your fair share of hurdles. For many companies, these challenges are all part of the certification process.


You’ll also want to remember that, while it might seem difficult at times, obtaining an R2 certification is never impossible. Companies of all sizes have and will continue to receive this certification. After making all necessary changes, you’re that much closer to adding yourself to the prestigious list of R2 certified companies.


Step 5: Reaching Out to Downstream Vendors


Another important, but often forgotten, step in this process is to think about your company’s business partners. A major part of receiving your R2 certification involves ensuring that your downstream partners and vendors are also complying. 


This doesn’t mean you’re required to only work with certified vendors. But, you’ll need to reach out to them and let them know about your company’s new processes going forward.


Step 6: Completing Your First Audit


It’s a good idea to expect it to take at least a few months for an auditor to begin the audit process. So, it’s a good idea to try and start to schedule your audit months in advance. The best tip we can give you to prepare for your first audit is to make sure you’re following all R2 guidelines.


Make sure to note the feedback you receive from an auditor. No one wants to hear what they’re doing wrong. But, you must remember that an auditor’s job is to point out any issues to help your company improve.


Step 7: Correcting Any Problems (If Necessary)


Hopefully, your first audit goes well and there is nothing to correct. However, there’s a far more likely chance that you and your team will need to correct a few things. Don’t worry, this is all part of the certification process for many companies.


You’ll be glad to know that you’ll get a post-audit report. This report details the steps you’ll need to take to resolve any issues found by the auditor. Depending on the severity of what issues were found, you might need to re-complete your first audit.


Step 8: Applying for Your R2 License


For many people, this is where things start getting exciting. You’ve passed your first audit, congratulations! Now, you can apply for an R2 license. To do this, you’ll need to register your business online and pay to receive your license.


To receive your R2 certification, you’ll need to pay $2,000 or $1,250 if this license is for a non-profit. However, you’re not quite done with the entire certification process yet. Next, you’ll need to prepare for the second audit.


Step 9: The Second Audit


By this point, you should have one successful audit under your company’s belt. With that said, this final audit is something that most companies feel is a bit more involved. During this audit, expect an auditor to perform a more in-depth tour of your facilities. Auditors also conduct personnel interviews to ensure that everyone understands R2 standards.


As it was with the first audit, if you didn’t pass the second one, you’ll need to correct any mistakes. After correcting these mistakes and completing a re-audit, if necessary, you’re ready to move onto the final step.


Step 10: Becoming R2 Certified!


Ah yes, the final step and the easiest one of them all. Now, all you have to do is wait for your certification to arrive. While it’s not a required step, now might be a good time to gather your team for a well-deserved celebration.


It’s important to note that keeping your R2 recycling certification requires passing audits each year. You won’t be able to become R2 certified once and stay this way without completing re-certification every three years.


Key Takeaways


To wrap everything up, R2 recycling is a method that helps ensure electronics are recycled safely and efficiently. Getting R2 certified typically takes six months to a year for most companies to complete. However, receiving this certification can be extremely beneficial for your business and its future. If you’re looking to find R2 recyclers, make sure to visit Trade-In Tech. Our wholesale electronics platform makes it easy to find R2 certified vendors throughout the world.

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