Dell will be using 100 million pounds of recycled materials in its products by 2020

Technology giant Dell has set itself a new target after surpassing its 2020 goal to use 50 million pounds of sustainable materials in its products.

Dell recovered 177 million pounds of used electronics last year

Dell recovered 177 million pounds of used electronics last year

The fresh target will see Dell aim to use 100 million pounds of recycled-content plastic and other sustainable materials by 2020, which it believes reflects significant growth in opportunity due to commercialisation of post-consumer recycled materials.

Among the sustainable material used in Dells products is 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.

The announcement was made in Dell’s first CSR report since completing the purchase of EMC in the largest technology merger in history. Dell has now realigned its goals to reflect the integrated company.

“Bringing together Dell and EMC in September 2016 gave us an opportunity to reflect on our progress and establish a core set of commitments that represent the best of both companies,” said Dell Inc chief responsibility officer Trisa Thompson. "We have a newfound energy as we think about the opportunity we have to put our combined portfolio, expertise and resources to good work. It’s already encouraging tremendous innovation that will benefit our customers and our world.”

Computer takebacks

The report claims that Dell recovered 177 million pounds of used electronics last year. Takeback schemes, which allow customers to turn in obsolete electronics to Dell when purchasing new technologies, have made Dell the largest recycler of e-waste in the world, the firm has said.

Dell claims that 94% of product packaging was sourced from sustainable materials. Earlier this year, it was reported that Dell had 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.

The computer firm insists it has “significantly” expanded transparency into its supply chain in the past year. This comes after the global toxic trade watchdog organisation called on Dell and other major tech firms to improve transparency in its electronics recycling supply chain.

Dell’s manufacturing facilities diverted 99% of waste from landfill in the past year, although the global diversion rate in other Dell-operated buildings remains in the 50-60% range. The company surpassed the 2020 sustainability goal of planting one million trees to offset carbon emissions and restore natural animal habitats.

Internal initiatives were supported by a number of external partnerships. Dell was among a host of major businesses to form Net Positive, a cross-sector coalition that aims to increase the number of companies that go beyond reducing negative sustainability impacts to provide "net-positive" contributions to society, the environment and the global economy.

Dell also ramped up its commitment to the circular economy by launching a series of innovative recycling schemes and joining Ellen MacArthur's Circular Economy 100 programme. Dell’s corporate sustainability lead Louise Koch recently told edie that multiple engaging platforms were key to spreading a company’s sustainability message.

George Ogleby


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