Today, you have two choices, both of which you can file under "Guinea Pig". You pay approximately about $50k for certification (to be renewed annually?) for BAN.org's E-Steward Certification. Or you pay $35Kish for ISRI's R2 (EPA Standard) Certification.
Either certification costs you a certified, ratified, undeniable, most reliable, professional 3rd Party certifier consultant, who promises you anonymity (which I don't doubt).
I guess, for all I know, there are 200 certifications which have taken place, and the companies all failed, and the failure is confidential. Like the flight of a female mosquito, we hear nothing.
More likely, other companies are like mine, and A) don't want to be an "early adapter" for a program with unproven payback, and B) don't have $35-$50k in their hip pockets. We'd all like to have a snapshot next to our E-Waste Certificate Award. But the big egos will have to till the soil.
My initial response is that our company, Good Point Recycling, would be the 16th company to start certification. That's based on our competition in the field, our ability to leverage value (by delivering material TO certified companies), and the uncertainty over whether this will all fare better than IAER Certification back in 2005. Oh, and the risk they won't certify us, but the cost is still due.
Here is my proposal: A competitive Certification Scholarship. WR3A (if I can get the Board aboard) could announce that it will buy 20 certifications for 20 companies willing to go through our "vetting" or Pre-Verification Audit.
That audit takes the 20% of info that exposes 80% of the bad actors, the "poor man's audit".
1) CRT Glass Test
2) Printed Circuit Board Test
3) Employees per Ton
4) Sea Containers per Year
These four data, along with the denominator of total annual tonnage, pretty much tell the story to any spittin' cowboy handling consumer ewaste. There are hard drive certification programs (like NAID) and there are ISOs for health and environmental measurement, but nothing beats the simplicity of calling a recyclers purported end market ("Hello, Mr. Dlubak?") and asking whether someone did in fact deliver 40% of their annual tonnage for CRT recycling ("That rat bastard said WHAT???!"). You can take the test online via "find a recycler" at WR3A.org
Now, for full certification scholarship, a company will have to take this test for $350 to pre-qualify for the scholarship payment of the full R2/RIOS or BAN E-Steward Audit. We have invited Jerry Powell's crew at EScrap to vet the vetting process.
If we get 20 companies to sign up, one of two things will happen. Either a big pocketed sponsor like ISRI or Sony or MRM will pay a portion of the certification for those companies, or they will get a value just by bulking up. If you are a "certification agent" and you have a chance to bid on 20 companies audits at once, you are a fool not to discount them by 50%. The simple coop principle may bring down the cost by itself.
If the OEMs pay, they have certain added advantages. The marketing value of sponsoring the Scholarships, the ability to put clauses for "most favored nation" (if you accept our sponsorship, you must accept our material at the best available price at your facility), the ability to push the auditors (who also do ISO audits for all your other subcontractors) for even further value.
I have given two weeks of my time to pitch this privately, but I'm not the best pitchman. The idea is sound. If 20 companies pass the pre-vetting process at WR3A.org, we will steamroll this ourselves. But the best ideas should be available to all, so if another shop jumps on the idea...
Well, one in a million ideas in a 7 billion person world, there are thousands of em.