America produces over 3 million tons of e-waste (high-tech trash such as smartphones, keyboards, processors, and TVs) every year. Daily, we cast aside 142,000 computers and over 416,000 mobile devices. Too often, end-of-life electronics are tossed into landfills or open-air burned, instead of being recycled in a responsible manner. Our enormous e-waste problem could have disastrous consequences for the future of the planet.
The same digital devices that keep information at our fingertips and enable connectivity across the globe also contain toxic elements like mercury, lead, and arsenic. Extreme care must be taken to dispose of end-of-life electronics in a responsible way to prevent these substances from poisoning the air, water, and soil.
The R2 (Responsible Recycling Practices Standard) is the electronics recycling industry's leading certification and is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency. The R2 specifies practices that address worker health and safety, data security, environmental stewardship, and the downstream management of end-of-life electronic equipment. Working with an R2 certified recycler provides assurance that e-waste will be disposed of in a way that is not hazardous to the environment or local people.
“By working with Smith, our partners around the world are able to rest easy in the knowledge that any parts we process for them will be managed carefully and ethically, in line with global laws and standards,” said Kirk Wehby, Smith’s Chief Operating Officer. “Improper handling of used electronics is a serious global problem, and it’s our goal to be part of the solution.”
Smith is dedicated to sustainable business practices. From installing solar panels and electric car charging stations to banishing paper cups to our environmental policy, we make being green a priority. The R2 certification is the latest piece in Smith’s ongoing effort to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of business.
Visit the EPA’s website to learn more about the sustainable management of electronics. Find out what you can do both at home and at work to minimize the environment impact of e-waste.