The Seattle-based e-Stewards certification program will now accept RIOS™ (the Recycling Industry Operating Standard) as an alternative environmental management system (EMS) to the required ISO 14001 standard. The change is reflected in the newly published version 4.1 of the e-Stewards® Standard for Ethical and Responsible Reuse, Recycling, and Disposition of Electronic Equipment and Information Technology.

It’s the second collaboration by RIOS™ with the two standards-based programs for electronics recycling and refurbishing followed by U.S.-based companies. In January 2021, RIOS™ formed an alliance with the R2 certification program developed and managed by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) of Hastings, Minn. That alliance helps e-collaboration to improve training and education programs, streamline the process for companies seeking R2 and RIOS™ certifications, lower the overall cost of certification, and support the responsible recycling, reuse, and repair of electronics.

“This new partnership with e-Stewards® is a win for everyone involved—most importantly the recyclers and refurbishers of used electronics,” says Darrell Kendall, RIOS™ executive director. “With the inclusion of RIOS™ in the e-Stewards® standard, we have expanded our list of existing partnerships in the industry and opened the door wider for every company in the field. We hope that through our partnership with e-Stewards®, we can work together to continue making substantial improvement across the industry in the areas of health and safety and environmental sustainability.”

RIOS™ is a quality, environmental, health and safety (QEHS) management system designed for the recycling industry. Designed on the well-established principles of the plan-do-check-act model, RIOS™ requires that companies and facilities evaluate QEHS risks that exist within their operation, mitigate them, evaluate the success of the programs, and improve them over time. RIOS™ certification is held by over 150 electronics recyclers worldwide.

“We are very happy to give our e-Stewards® certified electronics recyclers and refurbishers greater flexibility by adding RIOS™ as a management system option,” states Prema George, e-Stewards® certification director. “For many, it’s a familiar standard and thus provides a welcome mat for companies looking to add e-Stewards® certification.” 

RIOS™ will grant e-Stewards® certified processors a 50% discount off RIOS™ fees to encourage adoption. Contact Kendall at (202) 662-8528 or email.

“We’re excited about the opportunity to have a situation where RIOS™ can be the foundational management system for anybody in the industry, regardless of which way they choose to go with their electronics certification,” Kendall says. “We’re very proud of and happy about the partnership that we’ve had with R2 over the last year. Now we’re excited about the opportunity to work with e-Stewards®. Certainly, we’re happy about the fact that by choosing RIOS™, [recyclers] also make a much more significant investment in their safety programs.”

RIOS™ will conduct a special workshop on electronics recycling at ISRI2022, which is March 21–24 in Las Vegas.

Photo courtesy of Storyblocks.


Dan Hockensmith

Dan Hockensmith

I'm a native Ohioan who since 2014 has called Maryland home. My background includes print, broadcast, and digital journalism; government contracting; and marketing communications.