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Seven Ways Dell is Upgrading its Recycling and Sustainability Goals

Dell has released an update on its recycling and environmental targets.

Following its merger with EMC1 in September, Dell Inc. has released a revised  2020 Legacy of Good report that lists recycling and environmental targets it already met, some goals it’s still on track to meet and some expanded objectives it has put into place for 2020.

Here are some other insights into the latest report, as well as some comments from a company spokesman.

  1. The company exceeded its initial goal of 50 million pounds of sustainable materials, using a cumulative total of 52.5 million pounds in its products since the start of its 2014 fiscal year. In its fiscal 2017, which ended February 3, 2017, it used 16.1 million pounds of recycled plastics; 5.4 million pounds from closed-loop efforts and 10 million pounds from PCR content (sourced from water bottles, for example). Dell has increased the goal amount from 50 million pounds to 100 million pounds of sustainable materials in its products. 
    “We’ve been able to scale our closed loop recycling program (which launched in 2014) at a faster than expected rate,” a company spokesman says. “This is the biggest contributor to meeting our 2020 goal ahead of schedule and readjusting our goal.”
  2. In its fiscal 2017, 94 percent of Dell product packaging and services packaging material by weight was sourced from sustainable materials, an increase of one percent from fiscal 2016. In light of this, Dell plans to ensure 100 percent of packaging is either recyclable or compostable.
    “Dell customers tell us time and time again that they want to reduce their waste. We want to enable them to feel good about their purchases,” he says. “By minimizing our packaging and finding sustainable alternatives, we are making it easier for customers to be green and help them meet their own sustainability goals.”
  3. Dell plans to phase out environmentally sensitive materials as viable alternatives become available.
    “A good example of (sustainable alternatives) is the mushroom packaging used on server products. We’ve used mushroom cushion for 17 months on our R430 PowerEdge server product for customers in the U.S.,” says a Dell spokesman. “To date, we’ve shipped 120,000 R430 units and used 360,000 mushroom cushions (3 per system), replacing 30 containers worth of foam.”
  4. Dell has the world’s largest technology recycling program with recycling services for consumers and business in 83 countries and territories. The company recovered 177 million pounds (80.3 million kilograms) of used electronics in fiscal 2017 (which included heritage EMC volumes tracked for fourth quarter only.) Since the baseline year of fiscal year 2008, Dell has collected a cumulative total of 1.8 billion pounds—88 percent of the original goal to recycle two billion pounds of used electronics by 2020. Dell estimates it is on track to meet its target.
    “Our commercial takeback services are a lot more than just recycling. The Asset Resale and Recycling Service has expanded its custom IT donation service to give business customers a simple way to meet their sustainability and corporate responsibility goals.”
  5. Plastics from used computers collected through Dell Reconnect, in collaboration with Goodwill, are reused in new computer equipment through Dell’s closed-loop plastics supply chain. Since 2014, Dell has used over 10.5 million pounds of plastics in 91 different Dell products in the closed-loop system. By keeping the plastics within this closed-loop process, Dell helps advance the circular economy for IT.
    “Dell Reconnect is managed to both Goodwill and Dell's high standards for workplace and environmental safety. Dell uses a third party to audit collection and recycling practices to ensure compliance with performance requirements. Electronic waste processed through Dell’s disposition channels is tracked, documented and audited. Electronic waste is managed throughout the entire chain of custody until final disposition. Dell measures and reports electronic waste disposition data in its annual Corporate Responsibility Report, as part of its commitment to continuous improvement.”
  6. Dell has now pledged to source more material from marine plastic as part of a commitment entailing a tenfold increase in its current usage by 2025. A recent pilot project is using 16,000 pounds of this recycled ocean plastic to make packaging trays for the XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop model.
    Dell plans to scale its annual use 10 times using 2017 as a baseline. The Ocean Plastics program is at cost parity to prior packaging material and according to a spokesman, Dell believes involving more companies will create a market for the material and bring down the price.
  7. Dell has suggested others follow their lead, and a company spokesman says Dell has secured interest from a handful of companies who want to collaborate, but is not yet at a point to publicly name the specific companies.
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