Dell plans to triple recycling capacity by 2009

According to an 83-page “Sustainability Report” released on Wednesday, Round Rock, Texas-based Dell Inc. will triple the amount of computer equipment it recycles by 2009. Dell officials say their goal is to increase the 70 million pounds of computers, monitors, printers and other material the company currently handles to 275 million pounds during the next three years. Competitor Hewlett-Packard Co. recently announced that it hopes to grow its recyclables from 140 million pounds to 1 billion pounds by 2007.

Many environmental and consumer groups see the announcements from Dell and Hewlett-Packard as a reaction to recent and pending state legislation that assigns greater responsibility for e-waste recycling to electronics manufacturers. The landfilling of e-waste -- a term for discarded consumer electronics -- is dangerous because electronic components may contain toxic materials like lead, mercury and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE), flame retardant chemicals that have been linked to cancer.