Earlier this week Microsoft, along with organizations like Goodwill Industries, Xerox and Sony America, were announced as founding members of R2 Leaders. R2 Leaders are organisations that encourage use of the R2 Standard and have demonstrated a commitment to the safe, sensible and sustainable repair and recycling of used electronics. This reflects Microsoft’s commitment to support the development of standards for better reuse and recycling of electronic devices around the world. The R2 Standard for electronics disposal sets forth requirements relating to environmental, health, safety, and security aspects of electronics reuse and recycling. It also ensures that more toxic material streams are managed safely and responsibly by downstream vendors – all the way to final disposition. It also prohibits e-recyclers and their downstream vendors from exporting these more toxic materials to countries that have enacted laws making their import illegal. Worldwide, over 540 facilities in 17 countries are certified to the R2 Standard.
The R2 Standard overlaps with a number of existing Microsoft activities and programs. For example, Microsoft already has in place a global network of suppliers responsible for removal, reuse and disposal of retired Microsoft IT assets in compliance with local and national data security and environmental regulations. When selecting IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) suppliers, certifications like R2, e-stewards and ADISA are included in the supplier selection criteria.
Microsoft also operates programs for our products, including Surface, Xbox and Nokia devices. Some of these programs are directly managed by Microsoft and when selecting recycling suppliers, the standards they are certified to all count towards selection of the final supplier. In other parts of the world such as Europe, Microsoft is a member of consortia that operates recycling programs.
Microsoft offers two programs, Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher (MAR) and Microsoft Registered Refurbisher Program (RRP), that help refurbishers extend the life of used PCs by offering products like Windows. There are also special “offers” to encourage reuse of electronics to help organisations like non-profits and schools. Microsoft encourages refurbishing organisations in these programs to look at certification as a way to improve their business. For example, the new R2 2013 Ready for Reuse option is a great way to demonstrate the value of the refurbished PCs they offer.
Helping customers, whether individuals or organisations, understand the choices they can make when both buying and disposing of their devices is another area we promote the R2 Standard. Our Greener IT Challenge web site provides an introduction to some of the issues to consider when disposing of electronics, and it highlights some of the multi-country standards like R2, e-stewards and WEEELABEX to look for when disposing of them.
We are excited to demonstrate our commitment to the responsible recycling of electronics by becoming a founding member of the R2 Leaders program.