Environmental Protection

WM Recycle America Adopts Program for E-waste Recycling

Waste Management, Inc.'s subsidiary WM Recycle America is implementing the Responsible Recycling (R2) Program for electronics recyclers. The program establishes a set of accepted practices that helps protect the environment and workers' health and safety during the handling of e-waste, provides the ability for third parties to monitor activity and offers greater transparency in the fast-growing electronics recycling sector. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency facilitated the development of the R2 Program, which included representatives from the federal and state governments, electronic manufacturers, electronic refurbishing and recycling professionals and trade associations. The certification of the program is accredited by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB).

Older electronics may contain potentially harmful materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium but may also contain valuable materials that can be reclaimed in new devices. To ensure proper handling of this e-waste, the R2 program requires participating companies to implement an environmental, health, and safety management system that tracks materials and minimizes emissions and worker exposure during electronics recycling operations. Certified recyclers must obtain documentation from foreign governments prior to shipping certain materials abroad. Companies must exercise due diligence to ensure safe and accountable handling of e-waste throughout the recycling chain, both domestic and international.

"Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing commodities in the waste stream, and many consumers, retailers, and manufacturers want to ensure their discarded electronics are handled safely and responsibly," said Patrick DeRueda, president of WM Recycle America. "Waste Management has rigorous internal standards around the safe processing of e-waste, and by implementing the R2 protocols we are able to further demonstrate our commitment to leading the way in responsible environmental and safety practices."

Waste Management's Minneapolis eCycling facility is one of the first facilities in the industry to be certified to the R2 Program standards and the company is in the process of certifying all of its electronics recycling facilities.

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