Dell promises to make greener computers in the next decade

Dell is making new efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and reduce e-waste. The sustainability objectives were unveiled at a summit in Austin, Texas, alongside other initiatives in the areas of diversity, inclusion and privacy.

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When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change, Dell will source 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040. (In comparison, Apple announced in 2018 that it will use 100 percent renewable energy.) Dell is not just switching to renewable sources; it also tries to use less energy. It plans to make its products more energy efficient and to halve the emissions produced directly from its activities and its electricity consumption by 2030. The company will work with other manufacturers to cut off emissions in its supply chain.

Dell is also entering into new obligations when it comes to recycling. By 2030, the company plans to reuse or recycle an equivalent product for each device that a customer purchases. It also promises that by then at least half of all materials used in its products will be recycled or renewable & # 39; and that 100 percent of the packaging will be recycled or renewable.

"We believe this is a business-critical initiative," says Christine Fraser, Dell's chief responsible The edge. "The necessity is really what our customers and team members expect from us."

The company plans to expand its current one recycling program. It already recycles electronics, regardless of brand, deposited at participating Goodwill locations, and it also has a mail-back program with FedEx. As a result, the electronics used since 2008 have recovered 2 billion pounds. But there is still much room for improvement. Dell estimates it collects less than 10 percent of the products it sells. Less than 5 percent of product materials are currently made from recycled or renewable content.

"I would generally give the industry a very poor rating to ensure that the electronics they put on the market are recycled," said Scott Cassel, founder of the Product Stewardship Institute advocacy group. According to the World Economic Forum, people throw away 50 million tons of e-waste worldwide every year – around 4,500 Eiffel towers. The WEF says that in 2050 that number could rise to as much as 120 million tonnes. What's worse, toxic heavy metals can leach out of electronics to contaminate soil and water.

At the basis of the Eiffel towers of waste, polluted soil and water, and even the intense carbon footprint of production, there is a single problem that all electronics makers – not just Dell – need to improve, according to Vesela Veleva, director of the MBA program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. If consumers were to keep their electronics longer instead of having to replace them every few years, we would not burn so much fossil fuel or throw away so much stuff. Making sustainable products that people can use for longer would be an even bigger step, and it is one that companies like Dell have not yet made completely. "These are great goals, but unfortunately they don't get to the heart of the problem, which extends the life of the product," Veleva says. "Recycling is just the tip of the iceberg – it won't be enough."

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