Becoming a Reuse Organization
About the Electronics Reuse & Refurbishing Program (ERRP)
Electronics reuse is a vital part of the Return-It Electronics program in BC. This is because reuse can help to ensure that the useful life of electronics equipment is maximized, by allowing equipment that is no longer of use to one individual or organization to be used by another.
However, electronic products can contain various potentially hazardous materials and in some cases where reuse organizations are involved in dismantling, repairing and refurbishing this equipment, workers may be exposed to these hazards. Also, there may be additional risks to consumers if products are altered in any way from the manufacturer's original equipment specifications. And, as always, all end-of-life parts and equipment must be properly recycled to prevent any negative environmental impacts. So, while simple reuse of a product may have little environmental impact, if the product is dismantled, refurbished, or altered, reuse organizations need to provide adequate controls to ensure the safety of workers, consumers and the environment.
Handling, Processing and Refurbishing Electronics
Reuse organizations must educate themselves and their workers on the hazards associated handling electronic equipment and ensure that employees are properly equipped to handle them.
To aid in this process, the Recycler Qualification Office (RQO) has created the Electronics Reuse & Refurbishing Program (ERRP). The ERRP is a six-part publication that defines the minimum requirements for reuse organizations performing reuse and/or refurbishing functions in order to be recognized by the EPRA BC program.
The ERRP is governed by six key principles:
- Donor’s Choice – The owner/donor of the electronic equipment has the right to choose what will be done with the equipment. The donor will designate if the equipment can be considered for reuse and refurbishing or if it will go directly to be recycled. The donor has the right to know that equipment and materials handled by an organization recognized under the ERRP are processed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner.
- Approved Organizations - Reuse/Refurbishing organizations seeking to be recognized by the Stewardship Program will be audited and approved in accordance with the requirements of the Electronics Reuse and Refurbishing Standard(ERRS) prior to consideration.
- Destination of Equipment – Equipment that has been selected for reuse or refurbishing through this Program will be sourced from and designated for use within the Province.
- Management of Designated Products – Reuse/Refurbishing organizations will have adequate tracking systems in place to prevent crossover of material between other streams or supply sources within their operation.
- Non-useable Electronic Equipment and Materials – Non-useable equipment and materials generated by the Reuse/Refurbishing organization will be responsibly recycled through a Recycler approved by the Stewardship Program.
- Recipient’s Rights and Responsibility – Those receiving material from an organization approved under the ERRP will be protected by the Reuse/Refurbishing organization’s product warranty. When the equipment is no longer functional, it will be the recipient’s responsibly to have it returned to the Stewardship Program for recycling.
Additionally, end-of-life electronics processors that handle equipment collected through the EPRA program must also at a minimum meet the requirements of the RQO's Electronic Recycling Standard.
Further, reuse organizations must employ adequate security measures to protect all equipment and information contained on the equipment from unintended use.
Of course, every part or piece of electronic equipment will eventually reach its end-of-life. As a result, reuse organizations must ensure that this equipment is properly recycled to prevent negative environmental impacts. Key questions to assist in determining if your organization is properly equipped to handle electronics:
- Is my organization aware of the potential hazards associated with handling, refurbishing and disposing of electronic equipment?
- What type of electronics is my organization capable of handling in a safe and environmentally sound manner?
- Has my organization educated and properly equipped employees to handle potentially hazardous substances?
- How does my organization ensure adequate consumer safety for products that are dismantled, modified or refurbished?
- Does my organization use an approved recycler(s) for the recycling of end-of-life parts and equipment?
- Does my organization employ adequate security measures to provide equipment and information security?
- Does my organization ensure the electronics are not illegally dumped or shipped off-shore?
For more information about the Electronics Reuse & Refurbishing Program and the RQO Recycler Qualification Program, please visit www.rqp.ca