Ensuring e-Waste Doesn’t Pollute Developing Countries

This week in Washington, D.C., U.S. Representatives Gene Green and Mike Thompson introduced legislation to stop U.S. “recyclers” from dumping electronic waste on developing countries. It’s a serious problem that was notably documented by 60 Minutes back in 2008.

Our team here at Dell is thrilled to support the goals of this legislation. In 2009, Dell became the first major computer manufacturer to ban the export of non-working electronics to developing countries. Our electronics disposition policy exceeds requirements of the Basel Convention, which bans the export of certain electronic waste based on its material or chemical composition. We define electronic waste as all non-working parts or device, and we require that equipment be tested and certified as “working” prior to export. The policy does not apply to:

  • Materials deemed non-hazardous by the Basel Convention;
  • Working equipment and parts that are not intended for disposal or recycling, but for donation, reuse or resale;
  • Components being returned under warranty to the original equipment manufacturer; or
  • Materials to be used in manufacturing without further processing or preparation.

When we banned the export of e-waste to developing countries, we were the first and only major manufacturer to do so. At the time, we called on others in the industry to do the same, and a handful have.

It’s our hope that that legislation such as that posed by Representatives Green and Thompson gives consumers confidence that the systems they drop off for recycling will be managed responsibly.

 That’s the case with Dell’s recycling programs. As a reminder, we’ll recycle any Dell-branded computer at no charge, and we’ll recycle any brand of computer with the purchase of a new Dell. Consumers can also drop off any brand of computer or peripheral for no-cost recycling at more than 2,000 Goodwill locations in the U.S. and Canada. Or to schedule at-home pick-up or to print a free shipping label, visit www.dell.com/usrecycling.

There’s simply no reason to do less than we can when it comes to environmental sustainability. What benefits our planet benefits us all.

About the Author: Mike Watson