5 minutes with… Corey Dehmey, Executive Director, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), USA

5 minutes with… Corey Dehmey, Executive Director, Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI), USA

September 3, 2019
Marcia González

Corey Dehmey is not only a member of the E-Waste World Conference & Expo Advisory Board, but is also flying in from the USA to host a special session on product design for circular economy as well as providing an update on the R2 Standard. Here, he explains why our focus should not be on waste but on used electronics

How did you end up in this area of electronics and ultimately becoming the executive director of SERI? I was managing the configuration of new computers for a mega 10-year outsourcing contract with more than 350,000 PCs spread across the world. When the computers were deployed, I was asked to manage the reverse logistics and ITAD operations for all the refreshed equipment that was decommissioned. As executive director of SERI, I have the great privilege to work every day to improve the way we reuse and recycle electronics. My job is to advocate for responsible re-use and recycling and to educate regulators, businesses and consumers about the risks of irresponsible reuse and recycling.

What exciting projects/innovations are you working on at the moment? SERI is finalizing the next version of the R2 Standard. This is the third iteration of R2, and we think that it will continue to be the universal standard recognizing all types of facilities that protect user data, the environment, workers and communities. Our team is focused on finalizing this release and developing education and outreach to help the industry continue to improve.

I think time has shown that laws alone can’t fully control the flows of e-waste to prevent harm. This is a global challenge and it requires global solutions. There are no borders to using technology

How do you assess the global e-waste crisis? I think time has shown that laws alone can’t fully control the flows of e-waste to prevent harm. This is a global challenge and it requires global solutions. There are no borders to using technology. We need to continue to build a global infrastructure without borders to responsibly reuse and recycle electronics.

What are the major challenges facing the industry in your eyes? There are many big issues facing the industry. One challenge is too much focus on the end-of-life recycling of consumer electronics. Business channels are a large source of many used electronics. Because they are typically of a higher grade and newer, they often enter a second life. The problem is these streams of used electronics in ITAD, returns or trade-ins are not treated with the same level of care as an old electronic recycled by a consumer. Commercial electronics have the same challenges as consumer electronics even when they are newer or more expensive. Unfortunately, businesses can be misguided or uneducated to responsibly manage used electronics when presented with opportunities to cut costs or increase profits. We need to expand our focus to ITAD and reverse logistics channels.

Are the regulations tough enough? Legislation is only as good as it is enforced. Legislation is not necessary to solve this challenge. Building solutions and giving people the tools to be responsible do not require legislation to implement. The private sector can make a big impact if they are responsible when retiring their electronics.

Which countries are getting it right, given your international focus at SERI? I think Canada is a good story. EPR regulations are adopted and implemented by each province yet harmonized across the country by relying on R2 Certification at its core. This is a hybrid approach that externalizes the costs to the private industry with a consistent base in R2, while allowing for each government to customize their framework with complementary regulations to the R2 Standard. The result achieves both consistency and flexibility.

We have to stop calling it ‘e-waste’! This creates the wrong criteria for responsible management. It does not have to be waste to have the same risks of data breaches and safety. We should be focused on ‘used electronics’

Where is the e-waste heading in the future? We have to stop calling it ‘e-waste’! This creates the wrong criteria for responsible management. It does not have to be waste to have the same risks of data breaches and safety. We should be focused on ‘used electronics’. Risks of used electronics are applicable after its first use, not its last. When we start to manage the full life-cycle of electronics with the same standard of care, we will be able to achieve proper management of those risks. We also have to realize that environmental concerns are important, but not the leading driver of responsible management. Data security is now the biggest risk that both commercial and consumers are most concerned about and that drives their decisions.

In addition to an update on R2, you’re hosting a special panel discussion about product design impacts on circular economy at E-Waste World Conference & Expo in November. This sounds like a really fascinating subject. I hope delegates will better understand how product designs can impact the repair and ultimately the recyclability of electronics. While products are ultimately designed for the user experience, the cost or inability to repair an electronic can also impact the user experience. Likewise, the product design can make the product difficult to recycle, thereby making it a liability to the brand owner and their customers. In my solo presentation, we will explore the new R2v3 Standard and how the changes will help customers to recognize responsible operators and differentiate the expertise of the many R2 Certified facilities.

Corey Dehmey will be delivering a presentation entitled ‘R2v3: the global standard for certified electronics re-use and recycling‘ at E-Waste World Conference & Expo (synopsis below). The conference will take place from Thursday 14 November to Friday 15 November at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Germany. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

 

R2 is the leading electronics reuse and recycling standard in the world with nearly 900 R2 Certified facilities in more than 30 countries. The growth and adoption of R2 Certification worldwide demonstrates its success in setting the bar for sustainable practises and supplementing the laws and regulations across many different regions of the world. The next version of the R2 Standard is being finalized with implementation beginning in 2020. This presentation will introduce the new structure of the R2v3 Standard and highlight the key changes that are expected to be included in the final version.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This