Dell launches sustainability initiative

Technology company says it is the first in the IT industry to introduce carbon-negative packaging.

May 27, 2014
Recycling Today Staff
Electronics Equipment & Products Plastics
closed loop computer recyclingThe technology company Dell, headquartered in Round Rock, Texas, has signed a partnership deal with Newlight Technologies, Irvine, California, through which the computer maker will use carbon-negative packaging.

Newlight has invented AirCarbon, a plastic material derived from air and greenhouse gases.

Starting in the fall of 2014, Dell will use the AirCarbon-based packaging on the packaging sleeves around its Latitude series computer notebooks. The company says it plans to extend the use of AirCarbon globally in packaging and products.

Dell also has signed a partnership arrangement with Wistron GreenTech, the recycling subsidiary of Wistron Corp., a Taiwan-based global original design manufacturer, to provide closed-loop recycled plastics certified by UL Environment for use in Dell's computers.

Dell says UL Environment has provided an independent, third-party verification for the closed-loop plastics process, establishing the first industry standard for closed-loop recycling and supporting a circular economy for IT.

Through the closed-loop program, Wistron GreenTech says it will turn plastics from recycled electronics back into new computer equipment. Dell says it will be the first company in the IT industry to use UL Environment certified closed-loop-recycled plastic in a computer with the launch of the Dell OptiPlex 3030 All-in-One desktop, which will be commercially available in June.

“Creating this closed-loop content claim validation procedure was a natural step for UL Environment in fostering more sustainable supply chains,” says Sara Greenstein, president, UL supply chain and sustainability. “Reclaiming and reusing postconsumer plastics to manufacture new computers allows Dell to reduce the environmental impact of its materials sourcing and manufacturing processes, which benefits everyone.”

Lisa Meier, vice president and general manager of UL Environment, adds, “We value Dell’s engagement in supporting the circular economy. Our innovative claim validation procedure enables manufacturers to substantiate their closed-loop-recycled content claims with UL’s trusted third-party validation.”

“The challenges we face today require our industry to find new, more sustainable ways to do business,” says Michael Murphy, Dell executive director of global product compliance and environmental affairs. “By putting plastics recovered through our take-back programs back to work inside new Dell products, we are able to help reduce electronic waste and provide the greener products that customers have come to expect from Dell. We hope the new standard outlined by UL Environment will encourage companies to rethink processes and help drive a circular economy for IT.”

UL Environment’s new Environmental Claim Validation Procedure, ECVP 2809, outlines the framework and process by which any recycled content and closed-loop-recycled content claims are investigated and validated before a validation badge is issued. Achieving an ECV lends third-party credibility to manufacturers’ claims, while providing peace of mind to purchasers who are working to comply with green purchasing requirements, the group says.

“This initiative is designed to reduce the dependence on natural resources, as well as extending the value of end-of-life electronics,” says Simon Lin, chairman and CEO of Wistron Corp.

Lin continues, “Wistron’s dedication in developing electronics recycling technology is an innovative and strategic approach to minimize waste and maximize postconsumer materials. We are pleased to see our green recycling solutions helping our customers achieve their sustainability goals.”

The closed-loop-recycling process for plastics is more than an attempt to establish a model of plastics recycling and reusing, Dell says, as the company is the first in the industry to receive third-party certification by UL Environment.

Meier adds, “Wistron and Dell’s incorporation of closed loop recycled plastics in the OptiPlex 3030 All-in-One certified by UL Environment is a significant step towards industry leadership in reducing e-waste.”