Dell hits 2020 Circular Milestones, Recycles 2 Billion Pounds of Electronics.

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This time of year most of us are in goal-setting mode. We’re looking for the new, better version of ourselves. For me personally I hope to decrease screen time, increase miles on my bike, and spend more time with family.  But maybe we don’t need to start something new but rather rethink an approach or redesign a routine.

When it comes to technology, we at Dell believe our past powers our future. We reimagine what one might consider junk or trash as a useful resource to sustain and advance our business. In sustainability circles we call this reuse and recycling of materials “circular economy.” Our colleagues in product manufacturing call it smart design.

Significant Recycling Goals on Track for Achievement  

At the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, we were excited to share that thanks to the help of our customers, we have reached our 2020 goal of recovering 2 billion pounds of used electronics. Our commitment to recycling was also recognized with two awards from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at the beginning of the year. Dell remains the planet’s largest technology recycler by geography, with options in more than 75 countries and territories. This infrastructure gives customers an easy way to responsibly retire old equipment. Our recycling partners first refurbish and remanufacture any computers that still have viable life in them and then recycle what doesn’t. In certain geographies, that enables us to collect materials we can recycle back into future products. Otherwise, the materials are responsibly recycled and resold on the commodities market.

This use of “closed-loop” materials (those that started in computers, got recycled and wound up back in computers) forms an important part of one of our other 2020 goals. In fact, Sam Burd, President, Client Solutions Group (pictured above) shared that by Earth Day this year (2019), we will achieve our 2020 goal of using 100 million pounds of recycled-content or otherwise sustainably sourced materials in our products – a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to prioritize the principles of a circular economy.

Recycling is the engine that keeps the circular economy spinning, but recycling rates are fairly stagnant. In the United States alone, approximately 9.4 million tons of e-waste is produced each year, with less than 15 percent being recycled responsibly. During CES last year (2018), we announced a partnership with actress, entrepreneur and activist Nikki Reed to highlight the importance of recycling electronics. Together we revealed the Circular Collection by Bayou with Love. This limited-edition jewelry collection sourced gold recovered from Dell’s recycling programs, and included 14- and 18-carat gold rings, earrings and cufflinks. The jewelry line helps illustrate the goldmine of resources available in recycled electronics, and Nikki helped us encourage people to make sure their obsolete electronics either found a new home or were responsibly recycled.

Dell supports and sponsors World Economic Forum initiative, The Circulars

Dell is playing a part in the World Economic Forum this year by sponsoring the Circular Economy People’s Choice Award for The Circulars, 2019. We’re honored to recognize organizations across the globe that are making notable contributions to the circular economy, but we want you to decide who the winner should be. The impact drivers this year include: DyeCoo Textile Systems (water-free dyeing process for textiles), Ecoware (single-use plastics), Geetanjali Woollens (clothing recycling, rainwater harvesting), Grover (electronic subscription service), Triciclos (recycling) and ZigZag Global (waste reduction).

Congrats to this years winner, TriCiclos, for creating a scalable waste management, recycling and recovery model.

Dell heads to the Sundance Film Festival as technology sponsor and sustainability partner

From January 24 – February 3, Dell will be the official technology sponsor of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Salt Lake City and a sustainability partner in an effort to bring attention to the importance of recycling and supporting the Circular Economy. Attendees will have the opportunity to join us at the Dell Den (open January 25 – 28) for a variety of interactive activities, demonstrations and panels.

One component that I wanted to call consideration to is a panel on Saturday, January 26th from 5:00pm-6:30pm featuring environmentalist and Waterkeeper Alliance founder Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the team behind Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, as they discuss the intersecting ways in which artists, activists, lawyers, politicians and citizens can affect positive change in the face of human-caused environmental crisis.

I’m really excited about our Sundance presence. When you bring both emerging and existing change makers together, it opens up endless possibilities to finding creative new ways to address environmental change in our world.

About the Author: David Lear

David Lear serves as the Vice President of Dell’s sustainability programs, and works to create long-term stakeholder value and opportunities by integrating economic, social, and environmental responsibility into Dell’s core business strategies. His team engages key stakeholders including customers, NGOs, regulators, industry groups, and agencies to collaborate on global policy and standards development. This includes managing strategic giving and community partnerships that demonstrate the enabling power of technology to drive both business and sustainability outcomes. David joined Dell in 2006 as Director of Product Safety and Environmental Affairs, responsible for the delivery of Dell global product compliance programs. Previously, Lear served in various roles in design and manufacturing in the Test & Measurement industry, where he specialized in the development of product technologies. David holds a BS in Chemistry and Biology from Missouri State University, and a MBA from the University of Indianapolis.
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