UN Puts Numbers Around the E-waste Challenge

In a report issued this week, the United Nations predicted that “by 2020, e-waste from old computers will have jumped by 500 per cent from 2007 levels in India, and by 200 to 400 per cent in South Africa and China, while that from old mobile phones will be 7 times higher in China and 18 times higher in India.”

The numbers are staggering. As technology – more specifically, electronics – becomes more and more accessible in more parts of the world, we have to provide convenient, responsible ways for consumers to dispose of them at the end of their useable lives.

For the sake of awareness, I’ll take this opportunity to remind consumers that Dell provides free recycling of our systems for consumers around the world. We aim to make it as convenient as possible for you. Visit www.dell.com/recycle to print a free shipping label; we’ll even pick up your old computer at your home, if you like. Those of you in the US can drop off ANY brand of computer for recycling at one of 1,900 participating Goodwill locations or one of Staples more than 1,500 locations. Again, it’s free. 

It’s important that consumers know their recycling options; it’s equally important that electronics companies establish responsible policies for dealing with e-waste. Last week, we applauded HP for joining us in banning the export of electronic waste from developed to developing countries. This week, I’ll echo our call for more companies to do the same. Until these developing nations can establish the infrastructure needed to properly dispose of e-waste, we can help mitigate the problem by ensuring – and stating in writing – that we responsibly manage every bit of non-working electronics that comes through our takeback programs. It’s the right thing to do, and the combined commitment of the entire electronics industry would make an exponentially bigger impact than any one company ever could.   

About the Author: Michelle Mosmeyer