Smarter material choices: What's in our products and what's not
|At Dell, we are committed to making smarter choices about the materials that go into our products. There are two sides to this commitment: using environmentally preferable materials and avoiding those that may have harmful effects on humans, plants or animals. We focus on five principles that guide our approach:|
- We adopt the world’s strongest environmental requirements for all our products globally
- We incorporate recycled-content materials into our products and packaging
- We employ the precautionary principle, voluntarily reducing and/or eliminating potentially harmful chemicals across our portfolio
- We extend our commitments across our own supply chain
- We proactively engage industry partners to change the way materials of concern are used in our industry
We hold ourselves to the world’s toughest standards, often exceeding local legal requirements when it comes to providing safe materials in our products. We have adopted the provisions of the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, which perhaps serves as the world's baseline for substance restriction requirements for electrical and electronic products. Many countries are beginning to use this rigorous standard as a model for their own requirements as well.
Dell also supports and operates in harmony with the European Union's Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH). REACH, as it is better known, is a sweeping set of regulations that came into force in 2007 and will, over the coming years, evaluate and regulate thousands of chemicals used by numerous industries.
Read our position statement on REACH
Read our REACH disclosure list
Incorporating Recycled-content Materials
In addition to our commitment to make our products easy to recycle, we strive to incorporate alternative, recycled and recyclable materials into the devices we make and the packaging that protects them. For example, in FY15, we used more than 11.7 million pounds of recycled-content plastics in Dell OptiPlex desktops and flat-panel monitors.
We also use recycled-content materials, including plastics and paper pulp, as well as renewable materials like bamboo and even mushrooms in our packaging.
Proactive, Voluntary Action on Chemicals
As part of our efforts, we are committed to the precautionary principle as the foundation for our chemical use policy: If reasonable scientific grounds indicate that a substance could pose significant environmental or human health risks — even if the risks lack full scientific certainty — action should be taken to eliminate its use. We have taken this approach since our founding, with the policy formalized in 2005. Along the way, we have often reduced and/or eliminated chemicals thought to pose a risk even before regulations years (see our elimination milestones).
As specified in our Design for the Environment policy, we maintain a comprehensive list of Materials Restricted for Use that is incorporated into all Dell engineering specifications and supplier contractual agreements. This list is proactively updated to meet or exceed the standards set out by the RoHS Directive and all its variants. Progress on materials of note includes:
Arsenic: Arsenic is commonly used during the manufacturing of LCD-panel glass to remove bubbles. There's no inherent danger of contamination for the end user, but the chemical poses disposal issues after the product reaches the end of its useful life. We first introduced arsenic-free display glass in laptops in 2009 and have completed the laptop transition in 2011.
Mercury: Transitioning to LED backlights for all laptops also helped us eliminate the need for mercury. By making this transition, we have avoided the use of an estimated 345 kg of mercury in our products. For more information on recycling and disposing mercury-containing products, see www.dell.com/hg
Lead: We have actively and voluntarily worked to eliminate lead from our products worldwide. We even go beyond the EU's RoHS Directive, which includes exemptions that allow for certain amounts of lead in enterprise-class products. In late 2007, we began launching lead-free enterprise configurations of servers and since 2008, all new basic-configuration PowerEdge servers have been lead-free.
Phthalates: Used in various products to make plastics softer or more flexible, there is growing public concern that they may pose human health risks. Begun July 1, 2010 and completed in 2011, Dell has proactively eliminated the use of three phthalates identified as potentially harmful: bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP). We continue to monitor other phthalates for their potential effects as well. Dell has also partnered with the nongovernmental organization (NGO) ChemSec to develop a study on the hazards of phthalates and their replacement alternatives. More details can be found at: http://www.subsport.eu/case-stories/304-en
Brominated/chlorinated flame retardants (BFRs and CFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)1
We have been proactively reducing or eliminating environmentally sensitive flame retardants from our products since 1996. For example, we eliminated all polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), including decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), from all Dell products four years before the EU's RoHS directive took effect. As for PVC, we have been restricting it in our products since 2002 — and also banned its use in our packaging that year.
We remain committed to integrating the most environmentally preferable materials into our products, and we work closely with our suppliers to accomplish this. While we have not yet fully achieved our goal of making all newly introduced Dell personal computing products BFR- and PVC-free, we have reduced these materials across all our consumer products and many can be configured to be BFR- and PVC-free.
Additionally, all removable media storage devices, memory and hard drives became BFR/CFR/PVC-free in 2011. We also offer BFR/CFR/PVC-free standard offerings of all Latitude notebook and XPS 13 Ultrabook™ products and are continually adding others.
Extending Our Commitments Across Our Supply Chain
To help us hold our supply chain accountable for matching our environmental commitments, we require all suppliers to sign a Supplier Declaration of Conformity. The declaration is modeled after ISO/IEC 17050-1 to ensure all product materials comply with Dell’s environmental policies. We conduct quarterly supplier audits that include a thorough review of how they apply and adhere to our material usage guidelines.
Helping Drive the Industry’s Environmental Standards
Driving higher environmental standards across the industry requires collaboration. We partner with green chemistry advocates like Clean Production Action and ChemSec, and technology solutions groups such as the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI), High Density Packaging User Group (HDPUG) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Design for Environment Program, we work to introduce safer, effective solutions. Dell is also a founding member of The Sustainability Consortium, which takes a scientific approach to measuring, communicating and educating about the environmental, economic and social impacts of consumer goods.
Dell also believes that legislation, such as the EU RoHS Directive, can play an important role in promoting industry-wide transition to restrict substances of concern. Dell continues to support the inclusion of BFRs and PVC in future EU RoHS recasts, provided that some critical issues can be overcome or addressed by specific exemptions.
1 Dell will adopt the BFR/CFR/PVC-free definition as set forth in the "iNEMI Position Statement on the Definition of 'Low-Halogen' Electronics (BFR/CFR/PVC-Free)." Plastic parts contain <1000 ppm (0.1 percent) of bromine (if the Br source is from BFRs) and <1000 ppm (0.1 percent) of chlorine if the Cl source is from CFRs, PVC or PVC copolymers. All printed circuit board (PCB) and substrate laminates contain bromine/chlorine totaling less than 1,500 ppm (0.15 percent), with maximum chlorine of 900 ppm (0.09 percent) and maximum bromine of 900 ppm (0.09 percent). Service parts after purchase may not be BFR/CFR/PVC-free. Exclude peripheral accessories
** Exclude Latitude 3-Series
|FY15 Progress Points|
|Worked towards creating an innovative closed-loop supply chain that introduces materials from used electronics into new products|
|In total, we used 11.7 million pounds of recycled-content plastic, up from 10 million in FY14|
|Was awarded the Accenture Award for Circular Economy Pioneer|
|FY15 Corporate Social Responsibility Report|