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Cashing In on the Circular Economy for Electronics with R2

A "Circular Economy" calls for a more responsible—and financially advantageous—way to manage the products and resources we use. An increasing number of companies are shining the spotlight on corporate sustainability goals, and joining the growing movement towards a more circular economy.
It is estimated by Accenture that shifting to a circular economy could release $4.5 trillion in new economic potential by 2060.

The circular economy is based on retaining the maximum value of products throughout their lifecycles. The R2 Standard is well aligned with the pillars of the circular economy because of the emphasis it places on extending the life reusable products, and on safe and sustainable “resource” management instead of “waste” management.

Here's an example of how that works:

A laptop is at its maximum value when it’s being used for its intended purpose – as a laptop. But when the owner decides to upgrade to a new laptop, depending on the condition of the first laptop not all recycling outcomes are equally beneficial – environmentally or economically. If the laptop is reusable and yet is shredded for materials recovery, only a portion of the value is recovered, and the greater value of reuse is sacrificed. More value can be recovered from harvesting parts and components for reuse, but the greatest value comes from extending the life of the laptop as a whole through reuse.

In a circular economy, responsible recycling plays an essential role, but later in the product lifecycle. The quality of the recycling process is fundamental in eliminating waste (or significantly reducing it) and ensuring that recovered materials are of high purity and ready to be used for manufacturing new products.

There is an opportunity for recyclers to differentiate themselves by being on the forefront of this growing trend by expanding the services they provide, and by developing strategic partnerships with R2 certified companies that are leading the way in maximizing viable reuse options. Savvy recyclers will realize the value they can add by helping their customers meet their sustainability goals.

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