Dell delivers tech industry’s first ocean plastic packaging

Computer firm Dell has achieved a new first for the technology industry, after converting waste plastic found on beaches and in waterways into new packaging for one of its laptop products.

Unveiled on Wednesday (22 February) at the World Ocean Summit, the packaging will act as a tray for Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop. The company has stated that the packaging will prevent 16,000 pounds of plastic from entering into oceans in 2017.

“I have been in supply chain and operations for twenty years, and this is the first time my 10-year-old daughter has gotten excited about what I do,” Dell’s chief supply chain officer Kevin Brown said.

“This new packaging initiative demonstrates that there are real global business applications for ocean plastics that deliver positive results for our business and planet. We look forward to working across industries for broader impact.”

The packaging will be used from April 30 and will be fitted with information about plastic waste to raise global awareness of the issue. The information provided has been sourced from Dell’s work with its “social good advocate” and actor Adrian Grenier and the Lonely Whale Foundation non-profit.

Each tray, which is commonly recyclable across many locations, will be stamped with the No. 2 recycling symbol. In total, Dell designs its packaging to be more than 93% recyclable by weight. The new trays will consist of 25% ocean waste and 75% HDPE plastics to enhance the recyclability of the products.

Closed-loop computers

Dell has a long-running history in promoting closed-loop practices within its product and packaging manufacturing. Alongside this innovation, which was trialed for almost 12-months prior to launch, Dell has also included post-consumer recycled plastics in its desktops since 2008.

Last month, the company reached its goal of using 50 million pounds of recyclable material in its products, including carbon fibre recycling. Dell claims it is the first and only company to offer computers that contain the recycled carbon fibre and e-waste components.

Dell will also launch a cross-industry working group that addresses ocean waste on a global scale, and will build upon the findings of its recently-published white paper.

Dell’s corporate sustainability lead Louise Koch recently told edie that multiple engaging platforms were key to spreading a company’s sustainability message. In order to push this story further, Dell captured its work with Adrian Grenier using virtual reality.

“Cry Out: The Lonely Whale Experience”, is a virtual reality video which transports viewers into the depths of the sea to witness underwater life and how pollution has disrupted it.

Dell’s unveiling at the Summit arrived as the UN Environment announced a new #CleanSeas initiative. The campaign, also launched at the Summit, focuses on eradicating single-use plastic bags and microplastics in cosmetic products in order to cut back on marine litter.

The initiative has a 2022 timeframe, and has so far been signed by 10 countries including Indonesia, Costa Rica and France.

Dell at edie Live 2017

Dell’s general manager for the UK public sector Richard Rawcliffe is among the expert speakers appearing on stage at edie Live 2017 at the NEC Birmingham on 23-24 May. 

Rawcliffe is appearing in a session of within the Resource Efficiency Theatre on Day Two of the show, discussing how businesses can reap the rewards of a closed-loop model. 

Find out more about edie Live 2017 and register for your free two-day pass here.

Matt Mace

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