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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dell Raises Bar for Greener Electronics

After a disappointing finish in the latest 'Guide to Greener Electronics' report by GreenPeace, Dell has made significant environmental progress with a formal ban on all e-waste exports.  
Electronics recycling programs, typically rewarded by GreenPeace's rating criteria, are only the first step toward greener electronics.  While many manufacturers and resellers take back old electronics, as much as 80% of these toxic components are shipped to developing countries for recycling - adding to a sickening and hazardous e-waste problem.
In the past 5 years, about 290 million pounds of Dell components have been collected for recycling by a large network of recycling contractors and subcontractors.  Until now, Dell's export policies were similar to those of Apple and HP - requiring contractors to refrain from sending hazardous components to developing nations, but without a clear definition of handling and with little enforcement.
Dell's promise to eliminate the use of toxins in manufacturing would have reduced the need for the new export policy, but the formal regulations should encourage other electronics producers to follow their footsteps.  How e-waste is handled by the US plays a significant role in a sustainable future and it is vital for manufacturers to take responsibility until the US adopts the international Basel Convention.
Under the new policy, parts under warranty or in need of repair will be the only broken, non-working Dell components allowed in developing countries.  Other nonfunctioning parts - toxic or not - are banned for export.  Dell plans to track the activity of each of their contractors, monitoring each step of the recycling progress, and will end their relationship with any company that fails to comply.
Don't let us down this time, Dell!
Source: Dell Bans E-Waste Export via Yahoo

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