By Corey Dehmey, SERI Exectutive Director
As SERI’s new Executive Director, I would like to thank John Lingelbach for his vision and leadership in establishing SERI and the R2 certification program. John has laid a strong foundation on which I am eager to build. I would also like to thank the many people who have called and sent messages wishing me well in my new role. SERI’s Board of Directors has established an ambitious strategic plan that I look forward to implementing.
A few thoughts on areas of focus as we move forward… I often hear people talk about R2 Certification in the context of end-of-life electronics. While responsible end-of-life recycling is a fundamental pillar of the R2 Standard, it is important to recognize that responsible management starts after the first use of a device, not its last. Responsible reuse is equally fundamental to the R2 Standard.
There are many entry points in the recycling chain prior to end-of-life. For example, a new device may be returned because of buyer’s remorse, or for warranty issues. Or a working device may be traded in for a newer model, or a business may do a company-wide upgrade of their IT equipment. It is just as important that we apply best practices of data sanitization, reuse, and recycling at these entry points as it is to apply best practices at end-of-life. R2 Certification applies to all stages of managing used electronics.
SERI will continue to focus on the principles of responsible reuse and recycling. Data security will continue to be a priority, as will effective testing and repair. Extending the useful life of electronics is increasingly important because it preserves natural resources by reducing the demand for new manufacturing. When reuse is not a viable option, “urban mining” of the materials contained in used electronics is the most sustainable way to supply manufacturers with the materials needed to manufacture the next generation of products and keep up with growing worldwide demand.
More than 85% of the global population is now covered by a 3G network (or better), and more than 50% of homes have internet access. As devices are used and replaced with greater frequency in all parts of the world, we must continue to implement best practices globally. SERI will seek to expand our programs beyond R2 Certification – particularly in emerging markets. We will cultivate projects to educate the world on the best practices for reuse and recycling, including formal and informal refurbishers and recyclers. SERI will be a resource to the industry and to policy makers.
I am excited to be leading SERI as we chart the course for the next generation of electronics reuse and recycling, and work to accomplish our mission of creating a world where electronic products are reused and recycled in a way that promotes resource preservation; the well-being of the natural environment; and the health and safety of workers and communities.