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Dell plans to make greener electronics over the next decade

Company statement

On its website Dell says it is committed to advancing sustainability: “We have a responsibility to protect and enrich our planet together with our customers, suppliers and communities. It is a core part of our business and we embed sustainability and ethical practices into all that we do, being accountable for our actions while driving improvements wherever and whenever possible.”

The Dell plans

Dell hopes to get 100 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2040. Dell is far behind companies such as Apple that announced just last year that it uses 100 percent renewable resources.

Dell is also trying to use less energy. By 2030 Dell is hoping to cut its electricity consumption in half by making its products more energy efficient. It will also cut emissions from its operations and its supply chain.

Recycling efforts

By 2030 Dell plans to reuse or recycle an equivalent product for every device that a customer buys. It is also plans to ensure that by then at least half of all materials used in its products will be “recycled or renewable” and 100 percent of its packing will be so.

Dell plans to expand its present recycling program. Dell already recycles electronics no matter what the brand. Item are dropped off at participating Goodwill locations. It also has mail-back program with Fed-Ex. Dell has recovered 2 billion pounds of used electronics since 2008. However, Dell estimates that it collects less than 10 percent of the products it sells. Only about 5 percent of its products are made from recycled or renewable content.

Christine Fraser, of Dell said to the Verge: “We believe that this is a business critical initiative. The imperative is really what our customers and our team members expect of us.”

The problem

The World Economic Forum(WEF) claims that people throw away 50 million tons of e-waste globally each year the equivalent of about 4,500 Eiffel Towers. The WEF claims that this amount could grow to as much as 120 million tons by 2050. Toxic heavy metals can leach out of electronics waste contaminating soil and water to make matters worse.

A big step to reducing such waste would be for people to keep their electronic products longer and manufactures to produce products with a longer life span. Vesela Veleva, director of the MBA program at the U. of Mass. Boston says that recycling and other plans are not enough: “These are great goals but unfortunately they don’t get to the core of the problem, which is extending the useful life of the product. Recycling is just the tip of the iceberg — it’s not going to be enough.”

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