With an estimated 41.8 million tonnes of e-waste generated in 2014, recycling and refurbishing our machines is an increasingly important issue. Perhaps more importantly, consumers need to be convinced to recycle their devices and that refurbished ones can be trusted as functional and reliable. Luckily, a certification for responsibly refurbished computers is on the way.
Non-profit standards development organization SERI announced the launch of the pilot phase of its R2 Ready for Reuse label project earlier this month. Supported by Microsoft and Chicago-based PC Rebuilders and Recyclers, the label will provide quality assurance for purchasers of used computers.
“We wanted something that gave consumers confidence in the quality of refurbished PCs,” said SERI Program Director, Henry Leineweber. “When Microsoft and PCRR approached us with this concept, we instantly recognized its potential to accomplish this goal.”
The R2 Ready for Reuse labels will each be attached to a refurbished device and contain a unique serial number. Purchasers will be able to view the specific device’s testing record to ensure it is in good working condition. Participating R2 Certified computer refurbishing and recycling companies will be supplied with the labels.
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"Microsoft is committed to improving the quality of refurbished PCs so extending the useful life of the resources that went into them and provide more price points and choices for PC purchasers,” said Sean Nicholson, Worldwide Manager of Microsoft’s OEM Refurbisher Programs. “Choosing an R2 Ready for Reuse labeled PC is a great way to see the quality of what you are getting and know it is being overseen by SERI, a leading environmental non-profit committed to a better world."
R2 Certified computer refurbishing and recycling companies can apply to participate in the pilot through December 31 of this year and the pilot itself will run in 2016. SERI hopes to collect data on how the labels are used, the labels’ effectiveness as a sales tool and as a transparency tool, the effectiveness of the online database, interest in computer repair and refurbishment, and other factors that will be involved in the labelling program.
Last year, SERI launched its R2 electronics recycling program, for which Microsoft was a founding partner.