What is Dell doing to design more environmentally conscientious products?

Dell designs and engineers its products with an eye toward lowering their impacts on the environment throughout their entire life cycle. It’s all part of our Design for Environment (DfE) program. At the earliest stages of product development, we incorporate responsible ingredients selection, reduction of environmentally sensitive materials, increased energy efficiency, extension of product life span and design for disassembly. More information on our DfE program can be found here.

Does Dell use any recycled/renewable materials in its products?

Yes. The plastics and corrugated packaging used in some Dell products contain varying levels of recycled content, by application and product type. For example, the enclosures of the OptiPlex™ 980 and XE can be configured to include up to 25 percent postconsumer recycled plastic (up from 10 percent). We have also launched numerous flat-panel monitors whose enclosures contain 25 percent postconsumer recycled plastic. These include the E190S, E170S, G2410H, P2011H, P2211H, P2311H and many more.

In 2009, we shipped approximately 7.2 million pounds of postconsumer recycled plastic in select monitors and systems, equivalent to recycling more than 263 million water bottles. And all corrugated packaging contains at least 25 percent recycled content. Molded paper pulp and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) cushions are made from 100 percent recycled content.

In addition, we use bamboo — a highly renewable (as well as compostable) material that is strong, fast-growing and easy on the environment — for the cushions that cradle Dell products such as the Streak tablet and approximately half of our Inspiron™ personal notebooks.

What is Dell doing to improve the energy efficiency of its major products?

Energy efficiency is a central focus at the product development stage and one of the main pillars of our Design for Environment (DfE) program. Our passion for ever-more-efficient products is reflected in our offerings. For example, our 11th generation PowerEdge™ servers represent up to a 34 percent improvement in power consumption for equivalent processing power over our 9th generation ones.

Furthermore, our laptops and desktops are being designed to consume up to 25 percent less energy by the end of calendar year 2010 compared with systems offered in May 2008. All Latitude™, Dell Precision™ and OptiPlex systems can be configured for ENERGY STAR® compliance and are among the most energy efficient in the industry. Virtually, every Dell rack and tower server also comes with the ENERGY STAR option. In fact, we were the first company to offer ENERGY STAR 1.0 for server families. (More information on ENERGY STAR-qualified computers and electricity savings can be found here.)

We were also the first to achieve 80-PLUS Gold power-supply energy efficiency for a server power supply unit. And in fiscal year 2010, we had more than 135 products registered for the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT).

We estimate that customers using desktop power management features and settings have saved more than $4 billion in energy costs (look for our energy savings calculator on Dell Environment). And thanks to improved product performance and our Energy Smart™ preconfigured power management settings, we are 83 percent of the way toward achieving our fiscal year (FY) 2004 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from Dell products by 25 million tons by FY 2012.

What is Dell doing to reduce the environmental impact of its own facilities?

We are always looking for opportunities to reduce our ecological impacts. Power-saving initiatives include lighting upgrades, equipment optimization, installation of timers and sensors, and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning modifications. For example, to cool our primary data centers in central Texas — which represent about half of the company’s total power consumption — we use filtered outside air for at least some part of 150 days a year. Using this method, as opposed to recirculating and recooling hot air generated by servers, dramatically cuts our electricity consumption for cooling.

Speaking of data centers, we avoided having to build a new one (thereby avoiding the multitudes of environmental impacts that would have entailed) by squeezing more capacity out of our current infrastructures through virtualization, hardware upgrades and other efficiency measures.

We also have strong recycling programs inside our facilities. In FY 2010, our global manufacturing and fulfillment facilities maintained a high recycle and reuse rate: 96.1 percent of nonhazardous solid waste (most of the solid waste generated at Dell facilities is nonhazardous). Our goal is to recycle or reuse 99 percent of the waste generated from manufacturing operations by 2012. Read more about our waste reduction here.

Can you tell me more about your recycling efforts?

Our approach to recycling revolves around the principle of individual producer responsibility. In short, we believe we should recycle the products that we make and sell worldwide. We offer individuals free recycling of used Dell-branded computer equipment at any time and free recycling of other brands of used computer equipment with the purchase of new Dell equipment. We also have donation programs in a number of markets that place working used systems with nonprofit organizations.

For information about our specific programs for individuals and businesses, see the recycling section of Dell Earth, which also includes a recycling-specific FAQ.

What can businesses and public institutions do with their unwanted IT assets when they are ready for upgrade or disposal?

Dell offers product recovery services to business and institutional customers in most major markets, including Europe and North America. Dell Asset Recovery Services, offered to business and institutional customers, provide reverse logistics, value recovery and reporting. Learn more here.

How do you manage the disposal of equipment you collect for recycling?

Dell recycling partners must meet stringent standards for environmental and safety practices. We also prohibit the export of nonworking electronics or e-waste, to developing nations (and were the first in our industry to do so). This is required by contract with our vendors and enforced through regular third-party audits. Our Electronics Disposition Policy can be found here.

Where can I find information on the environmental attributes of Dell products?

We post Environmental Data Sheets for many of our desktop, laptop and server/storage products here.

Are Dell products certified according to any eco-label standards?

Yes, many of our products bear ecolabels such as ENERGY STAR, EPEAT, Blue Angel and TCO. Information regarding eco-label certification can be found here and on our Environmental Datasheets, here.

Where can I find your Corporate Social Responsibility or Sustainability report?

The most recent Dell Corporate Social Responsibility Report can be found here. An archive of prior reports can be found here.

How does Dell comply with various environmental regulations?

Dell complies with the applicable environmental regulations or legislation wherever we do business. In many cases, our environmental programs and policies exceed legal requirements. For example, all Dell-branded products worldwide comply with the European Union’s stringent Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.

Does Dell use brominated flame retardants (BFRs) such as PBB and PBDE in its products? What about PVC?

We have been voluntarily reducing or eliminating substances of concern from our products since 1996, oftentimes well ahead of regulations. For example, we removed polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), including decabromodiphenyl ether (decaBDE), from all Dell products in 2002, complying with the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive 4 years before its enactment. That same year, we proactively and voluntarily eliminated the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in all plastic mechanical parts above 25 grams.

Our current restrictions related to BFRs and PVC include prohibiting the use of:
  • PBBs and PBDEs (including deca-BDE) for all applications
  • All other BFRs* (including tetrabromobisphenol A or TBBPA, and hexabromocyclododecane or HBCD) and chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs) in all mechanical plastic parts over 25 grams for desktops, laptop and server products, as well as TCO-certified displays and Blue Angel-certified printers
  • PVC* in product packaging and in all mechanical plastic parts over 25 grams
Printed circuit boards typically contain BFR such as tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA). Dell is working with suppliers and organizations such as the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) and the High-Density Packaging User Group International (HDPUG) to evaluate BFR-free flame retardants, considering numerous technical, environmental, health and fire safety factors. We reduce the use of BFRs and PVC by using plastics that can be flame-retarded with nonhalogenated compounds and by using design strategies that reduce the need to use flame-retarded plastics at all. Where alternatives are not yet viable, Dell works with its industry partners to promote new industry standards and the development of reliable, environmentally sound and economically scalable solutions.

By the end of 2011, all newly introduced Dell personal computing products will be BFR, CFR and PVC free*, as acceptable alternatives are identified that will not compromise product performance and product health and will lower environmental impacts. More information on the Dell approach to materials use can be found here.

What is Dell doing to reduce mercury and arsenic from its products?

In 2010, we completed the transition of all our new laptop displays to mercury-free LED (light-emitting diode) backlighting. We are committed to expanding the list of mercury-free, LED-based products in future offerings.

Dell is voluntarily working to remove arsenic (found in display glass) from our systems. We introduced arsenic-free display glass in laptops and monitors in 2009 and aim to introduce it across our entire portfolio.

Does Dell use CFCs during the manufacturing process and do Dell products contain CFCs?

In accordance with international treaties designed to protect the ozone layer, Dell prohibits the use of ozone-depleting substances (Class-I and Class-II CFCs and HCFCs) in manufacturing processes and product design.

Does Dell use any recycled/renewable materials in its products?

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) is a European directive addressing end-of-life treatment of products. The directive requires products to be labeled with the WEEE 'wheelie-bin' mark and to include printed customer information on WEEE. Dell approached this as a global directive — all products worldwide should have the WEEE label. Dell implemented both requirements of WEEE on or before the 13 August 2005 compliance deadline.

*Dell has adopted 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/PVC free.