Electronic waste continues to remain a growing concern for companies throughout the world. With as much as 80% of e-waste being exported to third world countries and e- waste being the largest single source of lead in solid waste landfills, it is imperative that we have appropriate measures in place when selecting an electronic recycling vendor.
No checklist can take the place of a thorough vendor assessment process, but below are several areas to closely consider in the selection process: Is e-recycling a core business for your prospective vendor? While not a requirement, if your vendor’s core business is built around e-recycling there may be greater emphasis on quality service delivery. Understanding your vendor’s e-recycling focus is key to establishing a quality vendor relationship.
Does the vendor conform to a mindset of “Reuse, Recover, Dispose”? A vendor’s ability to provide reuse opportunities can contribute significantly to e-waste reductions to our landfills. Understanding the vendor’s process and practice of applying a systematic model of recovery will greatly enhance your decision making process.
Who are the prospective vendor’s downstream agents? Our responsibility for environmental management does not necessarily stop with the material handoff to the vendor. We should be diligent in our inquiry about downstream accumulation. Additionally, we need to insure that our vendors are conducting appropriate background checks on employees and agents throughout the recycling chain.
What certifications does the vendor possess? R2 certification insures that an appropriate environmental, health and safety (EHS) management system is in place, that foreign governments have confirmed the vendor’s ability to ship abroad and that data security is a priority. E-Stewards is an additional standard of measure available for consideration.
What are the logistic constraints of the vendor? We must establish a clear expectation of how e- waste material will be consolidated, cataloged, packaged and handled from both an internal perspective and a vendor perspective. Clear expectations for management and reporting can help us avoid issues later.
What terms need to be addressed in the contract? Several items are key to the contract body including: Pricing, Collection/Removal, Transportation, Payment, Safety, Certification, Right-to-Audit, Indemnification, Permits, Insurance, EHS and Confidentiality.
Conclusion: Electronic recycling will continue to rise in importance in the world we live in. Giving appropriate attention to vendor selection and establishing clear terms can assist us in reducing our liabilities and overall environmental impact. By partnering with our electronic recycling vendor, we can work towards a cleaner, greener world for all of us.
Chris Robinson, CMIR, Asset Recovery Coordinator, Duke Energy
–Chris Robinson, CMIR
–Chris Robinson, CMIR