Global EEE Reuse and Recycling Challenges – Gary Griffiths’ presentation at the IERC 2017

It is not often I get to address an International Congress in Welsh, the language of the Land of my Fathers.

But in saying “Prynhawn Da” or “Good Afternoon” to the audience of delegates at the International Electronics Recycling Congress in Salzburg, Austria, I was making a point related to the topic I was speaking on – the challenges faced in providing reuse and recycling services globally.

Welsh is just one of the more than 6,500 languages spoken and written in 45 different alphabets in the 193 countries currently recognised by the United Nations – where money is spent in 180 different currencies.

Business has addressed this by largely adopting a common language – English.  This may be due to a few Bills – not acts of any legislature but the dollar bill used as the most common international currency and English as the language of the other Bill – Bill Gates, whose Windows operating system is in wide use worldwide.

Global marketplaces are growing, placing technology in the hands of even more users, and underscoring the need for EEE reuse and recycling services across the world. In order to respond appropriately, technology companies should understand the requirements and options in different regions.

The rise of myriad laws and regulations applicable to reuse of used electrical and electronic equipment and controls on recycling and the risks to human health and the environment has led to the need to manage compliance.

Local regulations and laws exist to address concerns over data security for people, business and government organisations. Handling used equipment and especially waste may require use of permitted organisations to carry, store, treat and dispose of waste.

Managing this in one country is a challenge – managing this globally brings additional demands.

Developing compliant solutions in each country can be a resource-costly and time consuming enterprise, especially if the reuse and recycling activities are developing at different paces. Metals recycling has been around for four millennia but reuse of computers, for example, started only twenty five years ago when used PCs became available.  Entrepreneurs remarketed the devices, adding services such as data wiping, asset tracking of each individual device, safety and function testing and responsible recycling as the IT asset disposition (ITAD) sector developed.

Across the world local ITAD business sprung up and international trading in used computers developed – providing opportunities for local ITAD specialists to form a network to enable provision of global ITAD services.

Successful ITAD management systems were developed based on independent certification to international standards for quality, environment, safety and information security.  These – together with people holding more than two decades of ITAD experience – form the basis for an ITAD partner selection process that includes a 200+ criteria questionnaire and on-site due diligence audit.

The result?  Arrow has identified and addressed the challenges of providing global reuse and recycling.  Arrow has developed the first global ITAD partner network of 75 partners that by the end of 2016 had worked with Arrow facilities to provide ITAD services in more than 120 countries across the globe.

“Da Iawn” – that’s Welsh for Very Good.

Gary Griffiths manages global partner compliance for Arrow Electronics, ensuring that Arrow and its global partners comply with local and international laws, regulations, and best practices. A Chartered Environmentalist and a Chartered Waste Manager with more than two decades’ experience, Gary has expertise in data security and compliance.

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