Solving the e-waste issue at the source

E-waste is a global issue. Dell wants to impact e-waste at its source instead of simply passing the issue on to someone else. So, in 2009, we became the first in our industry to ban the export of nonworking electronics and e-waste to developing countries. The unregulated disposal of e-waste can negatively impact the environment, health and safety of regions like China, India and Africa.

In FY15, we took our leadership a step further by launching closed-loop recycling, which incorporates the plastics from electronics recovered through our takeback services into the plastics used to make new Dell products. With the launch of the OptiPlex™ 3030 All-in-One, Dell became the first in the industry to offer a desktop made with recycled plastics that are third-party certified (by UL Environment) as closed-loop.
In FY15, Dell also signed a 5-year agreement with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to cooperate on identifying and implementing a sustainable e-waste management model for developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are both committed to finding solutions that create job opportunities, improve health conditions for workers and develop environmentally sound practices for recovering valuable resources.

Our FY14 work in Kenya, helping the country set up an e-waste recycling hub and collection network, showed us how we can help developing nations move from an informal recycling culture to a safe, formal industry takeback program supported by legislation. This model holds much promise for other developing nations, and in FY15 we continued working with Uganda on developing takeback legislation. We also presented an informal sector recycling model to India’s Ministry of Environment and Forest. We will next promote the model for adoption by the Infocomm and Consumer Electronic Technology Group, a group of industry leaders working with governments to address environmental legislation. The participation of other corporations will be essential to drive cost efficiency and scalability.

To maximize the lifetime use of Dell products, in FY15 we worked with our nonprofit partners and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to expand donation programs in Europe, which offer Dell Asset Resale and Recycling Services customers the option to donate their used electronics to developing countries. For example, in the Netherlands, our customer Rabobank donates the Dell systems it no longer needs to small businesses, schools and hospitals in Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. NGO Close the Gap selects the donation recipients and works with local partners to install and maintain the systems and train users. The systems are then recycled by Dell’s local recycling partner at end of life.
Challenge Solution Benefit
Developing countries have
been negatively impacted by
the dumping of e-waste.

Dell became the first
computer manufacturer to
ban the export
of e-waste to developing
E-waste is addressed at the
source instead of being sent
to developing countries,
creating new recycling
options and programs.

Our Policy

The Basel Convention greatly reduces the international transfer of waste, including e-waste. Dell has expanded and surpassed the Convention’s guidelines to define e-waste as all nonworking parts or devices, regardless of materials, and require that all equipment be tested and certified before being exported. The policy also states:

  • All exports and imports of electronic waste handled by Dell and its authorized environmental partners will comply with existing international waste trade agreements and legal requirements
  • Dell does not permit electronic waste to be exported from developed (members countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development [OECD] or the European Union [EU]) to developing (non-OECD/EU) countries, either directly or through intermediaries
  • No prison or child labor will be used in the disposal of electronic waste
  • Every reasonable effort will be made to control all electronic wastes and prevent it from entering landfills or incinerators

Through Our Disposal Chain

Any e-waste collected or accumulated through our disposal chain must be tracked and documented, through final disposition, to ensure that it is properly recycled. We audit ourselves and our recycling partners to confirm our policies and standards are being met.

What is E-waste