There is a common acronym used in the repair and reuse of electronics – “BER.” It stands for “Beyond Economic Repair.” This means that the cost to test, repair, or otherwise refurbish the unit is estimated to be more expensive than the recoverable value from the refurbished device. The age and cosmetic condition of used electronics have a direct impact on determining whether the return on investment (ROI) will be worth the effort required to test or repair the device. (As does the cost of labor and other factors.)
BER equipment is always in untested or non-working condition, but typically holds more value in the market as whole equipment or parts, as opposed to the value in recycling. It may be more profitable for a company to sell BER equipment to someone else to test and repair rather than incurring those costs themselves. In any transaction, responsible management of BER equipment necessitates selling only to buyer’s that meet R2 Standard requirements for downstream vendors.
Selling BER electronics can be risky. Buyers will often turn around and sell the equipment with descriptions such as“as is, for parts, not working, or used-good.” Buyers of BER equipment who are not R2 certified are often able to pay more because they do not have the operating costs of legitimate testing and repair, recycling of failed parts, and the auditing and oversight required by certification. Lack of oversight, however, increases the risks for improper data sanitization, safety hazards, and environmental pollution if the BER equipment is not responsibly and sustainably managed. This is why the R2 Standard requires a greater level of scrutiny and due diligence for buyers who are not R2 Certified.
Bottom Line: BER electronics must be managed in conformance to R2 requirements by controlling who purchases the equipment. Due diligence of the buyer of BER equipment is required -- itcannotbe sold freely to anyone.