We read with interest today a Greenpeace report about chemical contamination at electronics scrap yards in Ghana caused by improper disposal and recycling of used computers. We’ve posted a number of times about our recycling programs in this forum, and the Greenpeace report is a good reminder of why responsible recycling practices are so important. We share the concern of environmental and human dangers from improper management of electronics recycling with Greenpeace and a number of other stakeholders.
While we can and do provide free and convenient consumer recycling world-wide, we cannot require that all Dell products are returned through a Dell recycling program, but we do strictly monitor and enforce our environmental and safety requirements with our recycling partners. Dell’s global policies for our recycling partners prohibit the export of electronic waste, you can see those policies here. This is a contractual requirement enforced through independent third-party audits worldwide. More importantly, we want to ensure all of our customers worldwide know we have responsible recycling options available to them.
The report has another important section, one that notes what practices Greenpeace would like to see the industry adopt. Specifically:
- Voluntarily phase out all hazardous chemicals and materials from their products
- Take responsibility for the entire life cycle of products, which includes responsibility at the products’ end of life, such as through effective take back and recycling schemes that are offered free-of-charge and globally
- Take the necessary steps to individualize their financial responsibility and internalize their own products end-of-life costs and
- Encourage the introduction, in all countries, of adequately stringent regulation for both the manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment and the end of life waste management.
How does Dell measure up to those requests?
- We are leading the industry with respect to implementing our precautionary approach to chemicals management and are focused on the elimination of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinylchloride (PVC) from our products
- We remain the only major computer manufacturer to offer free, convenient and responsible recycling of our products globally
- In voluntary initiatives we internalize the cost of recycling
- We partner with elected officials around the globe to promote producer responsibility legislation
This is an important issue and for our part Dell continues to offer the most comprehensive product take-back solutions in our industry, including free consumer recycling globally. You can see details about our recycling programs here. We know we have more to do. We will continue to work to raise customer awareness about the importance of responsible recycling of used electronics as well as making it even easier to recycle with Dell.