Going for the Gold

Dell is making tech more sustainable; considering mother earth while building new motherboards

Dell is going for the gold (by recycling it).

There are precious materials inside your computer. No, not just the half-finished movie script you’re writing or vacation photos from the Grand Canyon, but actual valuable elements like gold, aluminum and carbon-fiber that make today’s tech possible. In fact, there’s 800 times more gold in a ton of motherboards than in a ton of naturally-occurring ore.

 If you add up all the phones, laptops and computers in the country, that’s a lot of valuable resources! Those resources take time, money and effort to extract from the Earth. Unfortunately, currently only 12.5% of e-waste is being recycled. According to Darrel Ward, SVP Commercial Client Product Group, and a driver of Dell’s push for sustainability, “60 million lbs. of metal are thrown in the landfill just from smart phones every year.”

 The more technology we recycle, the more materials can be used in state-of-the-art products without finding new sources – the perfect way to conserve natural resources and limit pollution.  

 According to a new study commissioned by Rubbermaid Commercial Products, today’s employees are demanding a more sustainable workplace. The report states that many millennials are willing to turn down job offers if a company is not committed to sustainability, and one in ten would actually quit their jobs if they found their current employer was not sustainable. Most said that they expect companies to be agents of “positive change.”

To be an agent of positive change, Dell’s Legacy of Good Program has established a goal to put 100 million pounds of recycled content into their new products by 2020. Here’s the breakdown so far:

  • Dell has already recycled and reused 50 million lbs. of pre-used materials
  • That includes 2 million lbs. of aerospace-grade recycled carbon fiber since 2015
  • An additional 22 million lbs. of plastics have been extracted and used in new products since 2012

 Starting with the Latitude 5285 2-in-1 business notebook, Dell will pilot a “closed loop” recycled gold program just announced at CES 2018. “This is the first time ever that a closed loop recycling program has included metal,” said Ward. “We’ve done plastic, and carbon-fiber, which was very innovative at the time. Now, we’re moving forward with gold.”

 That means gold in new Latitudes will be retrieved from used tech and extracted through an environmentally safe process in the U.S. The program will produce millions of new motherboards.

 “There’s almost no reason to throw away electronics,” said Ward. “Most cities have their own program. Goodwill has a partnership with Dell. There are so many ways to get rid of them in a more healthy way.”

 In addition to saving the environment, Ward cites the bottom line as another motivator for corporate recycling initiatives. “These programs are not only good for the environment, they’re good for business as well.”

 If you’d like to learn more about Dell’s recycling goals and the Legacy for Good, click here.