The Electronics Waste Program is an informational program maintained by the Solid Waste Policy, Planning, and Grants Branch of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ). One of the main goals of the program is to educate the residents, businesses, organizations, local governments, and State agencies on the proper management of obsolete or end-of-life electronics. Electronic scrap is one of the fastest growing segments of solid waste generated in the United States - fueled, in part, by the speed at which electronics become obsolete. However, the number of electronic devices entering the waste stream is not as high as the rate at which electronic devices are being purchased due to people collecting and stockpiling old electronics. Some of the most common reasons people stockpile old electronics are personal data and lack of responsible management options.
Obsolete or end-of-life electronics are often referred to as "electronic scrap", "scrap electronics", or simply "e-scrap" on this web page. You may commonly also hear and see others using terms such as "electronic waste" or "e-waste." MDEQ discourage the use of these last two terms since they emphasize disposal of electronics which sounds like landfilling them instead of the actual recycling process which is typical of proper e-scrap management.
Section 49-2-101 et. seq. ("Certified Electronics Recycling Law") of the Mississippi Code Annotated requires:
- MDEQ to maintain a list of Certified Recyclers
- MDEQ to promote certification of electronic scrap recyclers; and
- Requires State Agencies to use certified recyclers on the list maintained by MDEQ when disposing of electronic items.
In the sections below, you may find more information on certification as well as two electronic recycling directories maintained by MDEQ.
Electronics Recycling Certification Information
There are two predominant recycling certifications recognized by the Certified Electronics Recycling Law <&emdash;> Responsible Recycling (R2) and e-Stewards. Each of these standards are maintained by independent organizations. R2 is maintained by the Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), formerly R2 Solutions, Inc., while e-Stewards is maintained by the Basel Action Network (BAN). MDEQ is not affiliated with either of these organizations nor do we endorse one certification over another. Additionally, MDEQ does not certify electronics recyclers. Information on permit requirements for electronics recyclers can be found under Permitting Requirements under the MDEQ Guidance at the bottom of the page.
The R2 and e-Steward certification standards are similar and overlap in many areas; however, their major differences are in the social impact of the certification requirements. For example, the e-Steward certification standard prohibits the exportation of electronic scrap to developing countries for processing electronic scrap and prohibits the use of prison labor in processing electronic scrap. Other differences include slightly different focus materials covered by the standard.
Frequently Asked Questions about Electronics Recycling Certification
How do I become certified?
I am a certified recycler, why am I not on the MDEQ List of Certified Recyclers?
Does certification mean the company is operating legally?
Are certifications other than R2 or e-Stewards recognized by MDEQ?
My electronics recycler is not R2 or e-Stwards certified but claims other certifications. What do these mean?
There are various standards that non-certified electronics recyclers will typically market as an alternative to either R2 or e-Stewards. Below we provide a brief description of the common certifications claimed other than R2 or e-Stewards. Please keep in mind that R2 or e-Stewards certified companies may claim these additional certifications as well since certain industries may require additional standards when processing their electronic equipment.
NAIDcertification is one of the more common other certification mentioned by electronics recyclers. The National Association for Information Destruction maintains standards for various media destruction. These are paper record destruction, micro-media destruction, non-paper media destruction, computer media destruction - physical, and computer media destruction - sanitization. Electronics recyclers typically market only the one or both of the computer media destruction methods, but some may offer others to be a full service provider. More information on the NAID certifications can be found on their web site.
ISO 9001, ISO14001, or BS OHSAS 18001. ISO 9001 is a Quality Managment System certification; ISO14001 is an environmental management systerm certification; and OHSAS 18001 is an Occupational Health and Safety Systems certification. Each of these are general certifications that may be applied to any facility regardless of its type. For example, a toy manufacturer, a car manufacturer, and an electronics recycler can be certified to each of these standards even though the exact requirements of each may be different. R2 and e-Stewards implemented many of the provisions of these standards into their own standards with some additional specifics for electronics recyclers. Additionally many of the auditors for these certifications are also auditors for R2 and/or e-Stewards; so, any company with one of these standards should have acquired either an R2 or e-Stewards certification at the same time. If they did not, chances are high the facility has some processes that are not R2 or e-Stewards acceptable.
EPA Approved. This phrases tends to be used in a misleading manner. In most cases, the electronics recycler means that the facility has obtained an US EPA ID Number (or RCRA ID Number). EPA ID Numbers are required of anyone that generates, transports, recycles, treats, stores, or disposes of hazardous waste. Since there are several components in the electronics recycling stream that may may be considered hazardous, most electronics recyclers will obtain an EPA ID.
EPA Certified. This is another phrase that tends to be used in a misleading manner. While this phrase may be used to mean the same as "EPA Approved" above, it may also refer to having met the original R2 certification requirements during their drafting stage. Generally speaking, any facility using this phrase should have applied for an R2 certification when the standard was finalized.
Electronics Recycling Directories
An increasing number of states have passed legislation addressing the management and recycling of electronics wastes. In the 2008-2009 session, the Mississippi Legislature passed SB 2796 requiring an advisory committee of various State agencies to review the issues, regulations, and possible solutions to the management of end-of-life electronics for State agencies and local governments. The full text of this report may be found by clicking here. In the 2013 session, the Mississippi Legislature passed SB 2754 (now Section 49-2-101 et seq. of the Miss. Code Annotated) requiring all State agencies to use certified electronics recyclers when disposing of electronic assets. Addtionally, MDEQ is to maintain a list of the certified recyclers that state agencies may use. The requirements of this law go into effect July 1, 2014.
Electronics Recycling Directories
Electronics Recycling Programs
EPA Guidance and Links
MDEQ Guidance and Links
Electronics Recycling Certification Programs