Position Statement of Dell on Individual Producer Responsibility Legislation
To meet customer needs at product end of life as a part of the total value of the Dell™ direct relationship, we provide free end-of-life management for:
- Any Dell branded product from individual consumers; and
- Any brand of electronic product when an individual consumer purchases a similar new product from Dell
Furthermore, Dell is:
- Expanding these same standards globally across all consumer product lines
- Continually working to meet the demands of all our customers and expand our recovery and recycling operations wherever our business grows
- Committed to transparent and effective goal setting and public reporting on our end-of-life recovery programs.
Dell is committed to providing efficient and easy product recovery options directly to customers to facilitate responsible product retirement. We accept responsibility for continually improving the environmental design aspects of our products and their end-of-life management, and we believe Individual Producer Responsibility programs incentivize this process. Dell encourages this same level of responsibility from other producers throughout the electronics industry.
Promoting Responsible Electronics Recycling Through Public PolicyDell is committed to implementing its recycling policy without legislative mandates. However, Dell supports legislation consistent with our policy, under which all producers take responsibility for proper end-of-life management of their own electronic products, enabling internalization of the end-of-life costs of a producer’s own brand that can in turn enable the continual review of the eco-design of the products.
Dell has engaged directly with customers, investors and stakeholders to help shape our legislative position, based on the following:
- Manufacturers will be required to offer recovery of their own brand products from consumers at no charge, using reasonably convenient and available programs, and each manufacturer must provide a Web site with instructions on how consumers can take advantage of recovery programs.
- In addition to manufacturers’ responsibility to offer recovery of their products, customers will have responsibility to take advantage of proper methods for disposal, and governments must:
- Take responsibility to put necessary regulations and infrastructure in place
- Enforce manufacturer obligations
- Assist manufacturers in driving awareness of proper disposal options
- Such legislation addresses Information Technology (IT) products — computers, display and printing devices. Because of different challenges, TVs and other electronics may be best addressed separately.
- Any legislation should not assess a fee or create new government infrastructure for collection and sorting of electronics.
The Dell individual producer responsibility framework, as described above, is based on the belief that the competitive marketplace will drive more efficient collection, recycling and redesign of products in addition to supporting the goal of conserving raw materials. Besides enabling proper disposal of electronics at the end of their useful lives, the Dell legislative framework is simple and straightforward to implement and enforce, and it requires no new creation of government infrastructure.
Principles for Product Recovery Legislation
- At the end of an IT product’s useful life, any consumer should be able to return that product to the manufacturer at no charge by following a process defined by the manufacturer. A return should be convenient for our customers — for instance, under the Dell primary direct consumer return process, a consumer can go online, print a prepaid shipping label, package the product and schedule a convenient At-Home pickup for shipment back to Dell. Other manufacturers would have flexibility to implement varying collection systems to allow consumers to return products, as long as those systems are comparable to the convenience of this example.
- Any legislation for IT product recycling should focus on consumers. Currently, businesses already are responsible for complying with local and federal solid waste laws. Moreover, businesses can avail themselves of manufacturers’ product recovery services. Dell launched its own Asset Recovery Service for business customers of all sizes more than a decade ago.
- Governments should not apply fees to finance the creation of unnecessary and inefficient government infrastructure to collect end-of-life electronics.
- Any company that manufactures or has manufactured an IT product must create a Web site that provides instructions on how consumers can use their return process. Governments should post information for consumers with links to appropriate product recovery Web sites.
- Manufacturers of computers, display and printing devices must be required to include a label on their products sufficient to identify the brand. Retailers should not be allowed to sell products that do not include an identifiable brand label of a manufacturer. Governments must enforce these elements to ensure the program’s success.
- All producers must take responsibility for proper end-of-life management of their own electronic products, enabling internalization of the end-of-life costs of a producer’s own brand that can in turn enable the continual review of the eco-design of the products.
- Consumers should remain responsible for removing their personal data from any products they return.
- Legislation should establish verifiable standards for electronics recyclers to ensure that materials are managed in an environmentally sound manner, including reporting requirements, worker health and safety criteria and penalties for violations.
- Governments should not require current manufacturers to finance the recycling of products manufactured by companies that no longer exist. Mandatory recovery programs and fees (including advanced recycling fees) for collection of orphan waste are inefficient and unfair to the IT industry, shifting responsibility for yesterday’s products to the manufacturers existing in the market today.
- Many communities and manufacturers have voluntary programs in place to address the orphan waste stream. The programs feature collection events, recycling grants and manufacturer initiatives to take back any brand of computer with the purchase of a new one. Additionally, in the US, Dell has partnered with Goodwill Industries to offer drop-off recycling and reuse options for unwanted computers at no charge to consumers. Dell also has sponsored more than 1,000 collection events around the world to address orphan waste and raise consumer awareness of computer recycling options. Governments have the ability to provide incentives for implementation of similar programs targeted at collection of orphan waste, such as through procurement preferences or tax credits.
- Dell would not oppose a landfill ban on end-of-life IT products.
- Dell would not oppose a ban on certain materials in IT products, consistent with Europe’s Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive.
- Dell would not oppose a prohibition of Electronic Waste to be exported from developed (OECD/EU) to developing (non-OECD/EU) countries.
- Dell would not oppose prohibition of the use of prison labor.
Prerequisites for Successful Product Recovery Legislation
Individual Producer Responsibility mandates based on Dell Principles for Product Recovery Legislation have the capacity to provide efficient and easy product recovery options directly to customers to facilitate responsible product retirement, no matter the jurisdiction. However, the benefits of such legislation will only be realized after certain laws, regulations and infrastructures are put in place.
Government must be ready for such an approach and must be prepared to support local communities, businesses and consumers to develop a culture and practice of responsible recycling. Many regions, however, do not yet have the necessary elements in place to ensure proper handling of waste materials and end-of-life electronics.
Before the Dell electronics recovery legislation should be considered for any particular country, that country first should have in place the following three measures, each of which is necessary to ensure that appropriate human health and environmental standards are met and that the resulting recycling is beneficial, not harmful, to the community.
- Regulation of General Waste Handling: The government must adopt a robust set of laws and rules — including education, monitoring and enforcement — to ensure the safe handling and disposition of waste materials in general.
- General Waste Handling Physical Infrastructure: Infrastructure must exist to enable appropriate collection, transportation, dismantling and disposition of equipment — along with the attendant training of workers — to ensure proper handling of waste materials in general.
- Reformation of Unregulated Informal Recycling Markets: With the necessary regulatory policies and physical infrastructure in place to address waste in general, specific measures must also be taken to eliminate the unsafe recycling of end-of-life electronics with existing unregulated informal recycling operations.
Dell stands ready to work with governments to share best practices and to identify appropriate systems to manage end-of-life electronics within their borders so that the benefits of the Dell Principles for Product Recovery Legislation can be fully realized.