Rethinking Recycling

Getting back as much as we produce takes rethinking recycling and changing customer behavior.
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Did you know the estimated amount of worldwide e-waste in 2021 outweighed the Great Wall of China? Alarming statistic, right? These are the types of data points that inspire me to continue to create programs that move people from passive concern to taking action to improve our planet.

What motivates people to make recycling an important part of owning technology? To find out, we regularly conduct research, host focus groups and proactively seek out input from our business customers. What they consistently tell us is that recycling needs to be easier and fit into their regular routines, and for businesses, data security is one of their top concerns. We use these insights to improve our services to take back technology with the goal of extending the life of those products and materials through repair, reuse and recycling.

Since 2007, Dell has recovered more than 2.5 billion pounds (1.1 billion kilograms) of used electronics, but we know we must be even more aggressive to deliver the positive environmental impact that will result from reusing and recycling one product for every one sold by 2030. To achieve this ambitious goal, we are building on our more than 25 years of experience in global recycling services to rethink and redesign our approach.

Here are a few recent examples of how we are using insights and testing out new ideas to ultimately increase recycling:

  • Commercial customers represent the most significant opportunity to scale taking back out-of-use and legacy equipment. This month we’re expanding our Asset Recovery Service to 36 countries globally. With this service, Dell manages the pickup logistics of any brand of leased or owned hardware, sanitizes used devices to ensure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, resells devices to give value back to the customer or recycles the equipment responsibly and provides a comprehensive report of the process, including the ability to manage and follow the entire process through our online TechDirect portal.
  • To get consumers to send in out-of-use technology, we are giving them something back. With Dell Trade In, U.S. consumers can register eligible personal electronics – of any brand, in any condition – for instant credit. A completely free service, consumers simply enter the details of their eligible device online, receive a quote for the credit they will receive and drop it off at a FedEx location or drop box. As soon as the box is scanned, the value is instantly emailed to the customer in a virtual pre-paid debit card that can be used to purchase Dell products and services.
  • Last month, Dell Technologies was excited to join Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft to launch a year-long, city-wide collect-from-your-door electronics recycling pilot for consumers in Denver, Colorado. A technology industry-first collaboration developed in partnership with recycling start-up Retrievr, this pilot will collect insights to better understand the most critical factors affecting consumer behavior and apply them to improve processes for recycling electronic waste. Denver residents can find out more about how to use this service here.

If we want to make a dent in that Great Wall of China sized mountain of e-waste, we have to dramatically scale recycling. This is why, for the month of April leading up to Earth Day, Dell Technologies will launch an awareness campaign to get people to participate in a “Global Recycling Drive for the Planet.” Designed to share the impact of e-waste and inspire action, we aim to mobilize our global community of team members, consumers, customers and partners to move the needle on extending the life of out-of-use technology – not only in the lead up to Earth Day – but year-round. Together we can dramatically decrease e-waste and protect the planet for the future. To learn and participate today, please visit

About the Author: Cris Villanueva

An 18-year Dell veteran, Cris brings vast experience from her Dell deployment services leadership roles as well as her government affairs background. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from the University of Texas and worked in government affairs at Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority prior to joining Dell. Cris brings renewed energy and enthusiasm to the GTB team emphasizing customer service, employee development, and innovative transformation. Outside of work, Cris stays busy with family activities with her husband Manuel, two children, and two rescue dogs.
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