A global OEM says it has achieved its 2020 electronics recycling and recycled feedstock goals. The company also adopted e-scrap tracking as a permanent part of its recycling vendor auditing program.
Dell recently issued its 2019 sustainability report, which covers the performance of its e-scrap recycling and ITAD businesses, the company’s experience using device trackers from the Basel Action Network (BAN), its use of recovered materials, and more.
The following are major e-scrap-related takeaways from the report:
Pounds of e-scrap recycled: Dell has recycled 2.1 billion pounds of e-scrap since the 2008 fiscal year, surpassing its goal of 2 billion pounds. The recycling was enabled by a couple of different programs: Dell Reconnect, which lets individual consumers drop off used electronics for free at over 2,000 Goodwill locations, and Dell’s Asset Resale and Recycling Services (ARR), which provides ITAD services for commercial customers. Since the 2008 fiscal year, Dell Reconnect has collected over 500 million pounds of used electronics, according to Dell.
Device tracking results: Last year, Dell adopted BAN’s new device tracking service, called EarthEye, to ensure the OEM’s recycling vendors are sending material to approved downstreams. In its latest release, Dell described that pilot project as successful and said it’s now a permanent part of the company’s electronics disposition partner audit program. In a post on Dell’s website, David Lear, the company’s vice president of corporate sustainability, said that after a year of using BAN’s EarthEye service, the company learned that “the majority of our downstream recycling processes are operating as we expect. But the pilot program did expose some early vulnerabilities which helped us quickly take corrective action and addresses the operational gap.”
ITAD business growth: ARR has seen significant growth. In fiscal year 2019, ARR collections grew by 30% compared with the year before, Dell reported. The program returned more than $23 million in resale value to commercial customers in the 2019 fiscal year.
Slowing collection weights: Overall, Dell reported lower e-scrap collection weights during the 2019 fiscal year. It recycled 160 million pounds of electronics, down 11% from the year before. The company pointed to shrinking form factors – smaller and more lightweight products – as a reason. The same trend has also been seen in the more mature state e-scrap recycling programs, including in California, where CRTs continue to dominate in terms of weight but are making up a smaller percentage of the stream.
Hard drive repair pilot: Dell has a pilot project to rebuild hard drives so they can be reused, rather than shredded and recycled. A partnership between Dell EMC, Dell’s data storage business, and ITAD firm Teleplan, the service takes broken hard drives collected from used storage devices and wipes, rebuilds and resells them. It has generated $13 million to date and has diverted 303 tons from the recycling stream into the reuse stream, according to Dell’s report.
Recovered materials usage: Since 2014, Dell has used 100 million pounds of recovered materials in its products. The company met its goal of 100 million pounds during the first half of calendar year 2019. In 2018, Dell used 22 million pounds of recovered materials, up 31% over 2017, an increase attributed to greater e-plastics usage. Of the 22 million pounds used in 2018, 13.7 million pounds was e-plastic, 7.7 million pounds was post-consumer plastics such as water bottles and CD cases, 636,000 pounds was carbon fiber from the aerospace industry, 660 pounds was recycled rare earth magnets and 5 pounds was gold from scrap motherboards. E-Scrap News has previously written about the company’s partnerships for recycling rare earth magnets in hard drives into new drives and gold from scrap motherboards into new boards.
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