People 'n' Issues

Dell puts ocean plastics to work

March 14th, 2017
Dell has announced the technology industry’s first shipment of ocean plastics packaging using recycled plastics collected from waterways and beaches.
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Dell has announced the technology industry’s first shipment of ocean plastics packaging. Dell recycled plastics collected from waterways and beaches for use in the new packaging tray for its Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, building on Dell’s broader sustainable supply chain strategy. In 2017, its ocean plastics pilot project will keep more than 7000kg of plastic from entering the ocean.

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Dell will make the full transition of its XPS 13 2-in-1 to ocean plastics packaging beginning 30 April 2017. The company will also include educational information on its packaging to raise global awareness and action on ocean ecosystem health solutions, an area of shared interest between Dell, its Social Good Advocate, Adrian Grenier, and the Lonely Whale Foundation.

To help ensure the packaging does not end up back in the oceans, Dell will stamp each tray with the No. 2 recycling symbol, designating it as HDPE (which is commonly recyclable in many locations). Dell’s Packaging team designs and sources its product packaging to be more than 93 percent recyclable by weight so that it can be reused as part of the circular economy.

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The ocean plastics supply chain process is made of multiple stages: Dell’s partners intercept ocean plastics at the source in waterways, shorelines and beaches before it reaches the ocean. It then processes and refines the used plastics, mixes the ocean plastic (25 percent) with other recycled HDPE plastics (the remaining 75 percent) from sources like bottles and food storage containers. Finally, it molds the resulting recycled plastic flake into new packaging trays and ship the trays for final packaging and customer delivery.

Dell’s pilot program follows a successful feasibility study launched March 2016 in Haiti. The company has a long history of incorporating sustainable and recycled materials into its products and packaging.

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Since 2008, Dell has included post-consumer recycled plastics in its desktops, and as of January 2017, reached its 2020 goal of using 22 million kilograms of recycled materials in its products. Increasingly, the company’s focus has been on delivering in a circular way – where materials from someone else’s waste stream can be used as inputs into products and packaging. Dell was the first – and continues to be the only – to offer computers and monitors that contain e-waste plastics and recycled carbon fiber.

In partnership with Adrian Grenier and the Lonely Whale Foundation, Dell has helped to increase understanding of ocean health issues, using virtual reality technology to bring people closer to the issues facing the oceans.

A recent study reported between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste entered the ocean in 2010 alone. Dell has published a white paper on sourcing strategies and plans to convene a cross-industry working group that will address ocean plastics on a global scale.

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