Dell continues to make headway on its plans to dramatically increase the amount of repurposed and reclaimed content in its supply chain, with a goal of 100 million pounds of reused materials in its products by 2020 (double its original goal of 50 million, which it achieved in 2017).
Dell has been a leader in addressing e-waste for a decade, since the launch of the Dell Reconnect program more than a decade ago.
According to the Global E-Waste Monitor, in 2016, a staggering 44.7 million metric tons (8 percent) of e-waste were generated from 2014, with the vast majority ending up in landfills, where it can leech dangerous toxins.
As more people get Internet access and purchase phones, laptops and other electronic devices, this figure will continue to grow ever larger.
Increasing recycling rates is one part of the solution, but it alone is not enough. Ultimately, we need a circular economy for electronics, where materials are used in a closed-loop system, with little or no waste ending up in landfills.
Dell understands this, and hence its focus is not just on increasing the amount of e-waste that is recycled, but also figuring out how to bring more of what it collects back into its supply chain and its products.
In fact, since 2013, Dell has used 73 million pounds of recycled materials in its products. To do this, it had to work both internally — to work to design products to include recycled materials without losing any quality or functionality — and also through external partnerships.
There is still a long way to go to close the loop on electronics waste. Despite Dell’s efforts, the global e-waste recycling rate is still only around 20 percent.