Guiding Principles Affirm Dell’s Commitment to Zero Waste

Waste is inefficient; it represents a lost opportunity with resources. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 200 million pieces of computer-related e-waste are being generated annually. Yet, only 18 percent is being recycled, which leaves over 150 million pieces of equipment in our landfills each year.

Dell believes that zero waste — producing, consuming and recycling without throwing anything away — is an ethical, cost-efficient and visionary approach that all manufacturers should employ. And, while absolute zero waste may be not be possible short-term, our zero waste guiding principles and the strategies we execute to follow them are helping us to get closer and closer to a truly waste-free process.

In our manufacturing operations, we achieved a recycle and reuse rate of 95 percent in FY16. Our major office facilities around the world also have on-site waste recycling programs. Employee engagement is key to their success and we promote recycling and reuse through internal communications and work with our Planet Employee Resource Group and other employee groups to further improve.

In FY16, our Brazil manufacturing facility, which was lagging the others with an 80-85 percent diversion rate, worked with a local service provider to develop a waste-to-energy process. By the end of the year, Brazil had joined our other manufacturing facilities in achieving a greater-than-98 percent diversion rate.

Zero Waste Guiding Principles

At Dell, there are several principles that guide us as we strive toward zero waste and several examples of how we are succeeding:

Waste is inefficient, so waste minimization, reuse and recycling are fundamental

Dell employs highly efficient manufacturing and operational process that reduce waste because, ultimately, waste is inefficient and bad for the planet.

For example, our global manufacturing and fulfillment facilities continue to maintain a high recycle and reuse rate of about 95 percent of nonhazardous solid waste. We also have recycling programs in place at our major office facilities, including some that provide composting.

We recognize our position in the overall ecosystem

As a major global manufacturer, we proactively aim for waste avoidance upstream via our supply chain and downstream via our customers and beyond for minimal environmental impact.

That’s why Dell puts a high priority on helping to prevent computers from becoming waste in the first place. We are a leader in mandating responsible recycling around the globe. For example, in 2009 we became the first in our industry to ban the export of nonworking electronics to developing countries. And our Global Fulfillment Team continues to work closely with carrier partners to dramatically reduce and recycle excess packaging.

We help our customers minimize their waste too

Waste reduction doesn’t stop with the manufacturing process. From our strategic packaging initiatives focused on reducing box size, using renewable materials and making the materials recyclable, to our robust global recycling programs, we want to enable customers to strive for zero waste too. For example, since 2008, we’ve shrunk our notebook and desktop packaging volume by 12 percent by using advanced engineering tools to maximize box space and choosing less bulky materials, like bamboo.

We’re committed to finding answers collaboratively
No global effort can succeed without the help of everyone. Partnering with academia, peers inside and outside our industry, and waste technology experts will help us in these efforts.

For many years now, we’ve recognized the growing number of Socially Responsibility Investors (SRIs) who evaluate the full value and risks associated with a company’s long-term performance. Since 2008, we’ve engaged the SRI community and continue to do so with a series of events, road shows and stakeholder mapping efforts in order to add to the sustainability discussion and further our thought leadership. We continually solicit feedback from subject matter experts on sustainability ideas. This gives stakeholders a better understanding of Dell’s decision-making process and proves that we are effectively progressing on these issues.