Dell and Basel Action Network Team up to Track E-Waste

Having worked in tech for the last 25 years, I have geeked out on my fair share of new devices. But nothing gets me more excited than the opportunity to deploy tech in ways that can solve real challenges.

collection of circuit and mother boards that have been removed from computers for recycling

This week in partnership with the Basel Action Network (BAN), I’m thrilled to introduce a new pilot program that will use global tracking technology utilized by BAN to provide greater transparency into our own US electronics recycling programs. As part of BAN’s new EarthEye tracking service, the trackers will be placed on non-working electronics that enter our consumer takeback programs and follow the equipment over the next 12 months to ensure the materials are recycled responsibly.

It’s no secret that the growing appetite for new gadgets is causing a growing e-waste challenge. According to Earth911, the US produces approximately 9.4 million tons of e-waste every year, and less than 15 percent is responsibly recycled. We as consumers and producers must do better.

As Ben Von Wong so beautifully conveys in the below video, recycling electronics has far-reaching benefits including the opportunity to recover precious materials for reuse in things like jewelry and new Dell products. It also saves energy: recycling one million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,657 U.S. homes in a year, according to the EPA.

For decades Dell has put our muscle behind addressing this issue: we have the world’s largest technology recycling program offering services to customer in more than 75 countries and territories.  We were first to ban the export of e-waste, advocate for infrastructure in developing countries and we turn e-waste into a valuable resource that can go back into the economy. To date, we’ve put more than 20 million pounds of e-waste plastics in more than 90 new Dell products since 2013. But there’s always more to do.

The project with BAN provides us with greater visibility into our downstream processes and could potentially add an extra layer of transparency to our existing electronics disposition partner audit program. We are open to the fact that we may find some gaps, and we’re fully committed to putting an action plan in place if we do. The important thing is that we’re finding new, hopefully better ways to ensure responsible recycling practices, and in doing so, we set a higher bar for the entire industry.

We look forward to reporting out on the results of our pilot with BAN in the next 12 months. In the meantime, please consider taking time this summer to clear out your pile of vintage devices in your closet and recycle them with Dell.

a man used a hook to pull old computer motherboards from a box in a recycling facility