Green Purchasing


More people today are thinking about how their actions, and even their purchases, affect the environment. “Green computing” is about getting the most out of technology, minimizing environmental impact and maximizing cost savings. In my view, the green process starts long before a Dell product is sold to a customer.

More consumers and businesses are thinking about the environmental aspects of computing technology before they purchase. The Environmental Protection Agency and the Green Electronics Council launched a new tool in July designed to help purchasers evaluate, compare, and select computer products based on their environmental attributes.

From Dell’s perspective, here’s how we’re lessening the impact our products have on the environment before you ever open a single box.

It all starts with product design. Through our Design for the Environment initiative, Dell is adapting the design of our products to use fewer resources and minimize or eliminate the use of environmentally-sensitive materials while also making continuous improvements to our product energy efficiencies. Our chemical-use policy outlines our precautionary approach of selecting substances to use or eliminate from product design

We continue to collaborate with third-party stakeholders in the process of design improvements like Energy Star and the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative.

We’ve streamlined our packaging. When we began to look at ways we could improve, it was clear that packaging was a good place to start. In this process, we’ve been able to reduce the volume of materials used in packing hardware, without sacrificing protection during the shipping process.

Last year alone, Dell saved nearly 22 million kilograms of packaging material through reduction and elimination of corrugated cardboard, plastic foam and wood materials. We’ll continue to minimize the volume of materials we use.

Your comments and feedback are greatly appreciated—if there’s a specific sustainability topic you’d like to hear more about, let me know.

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13 thoughts on “Green Purchasing

  1. I have noticied lately that our desktops that I order at work come in a box about half of the size as before.

    The next step seems to develop smaller systems, so then you can make the boxes smaller yet.


  2. Craig,

    Ducting the combined exhaust from multiple servers is exactly what enclosed racks were designed for. It is inefficient to duct each individual server on an open rack.


  3. Thats a cool idea, Craig.  A Dell server HVAC kit could be quite cool, tho I wonder if more of a negetive (Brand X servers don’t need external ducting…).  

    BTW – I suppose the XPS 700 needs that 1Kw PSU for what the customer may do to it.  I know the Precision version needs it for the 64GB of ram that you can put in.

  4. I would like to commend Dell on this effort.  However I have noticed an inconsistency…You are reducing the amount of packaging materials to ship products, but you don’t directly address power consumption, or heat out put.  I know you offer low power Xeon chips in some of your servers, but why would you create the XPS 700 with a 1kw power supply??  I realize you want customers to be able to add all the extra devices they want, but seriously 1kw worth?  Completely configured servers on take around 750watts…

    I know my company would be interested in energy efficient (Energy Star certified) equipment that still has the BTX case design to allow for optimum air flow.  We would also be interested in Dell offering some information and solution on heat in the server room/data center.  We have 4 Dell servers in an 8×8 room in a rack and the temp with normal building AC being pumped into the room will reach 80+ degrees F.  We recently had to purchase a small AC unit from APC, and room fans to increase air flow.

    It would be interesting if you could create some kind of duct kit that attaches to the rear fans of the servers so the hot air could be vented straight out of the room our into a large exhaust duct.

  5. Craig, The XPS 700 series platform is designed for uncompromised performance.  Designed for supporting Extreme Edition CPUs, Quad Graphics, PhysX Processing, multiple hard drives and optical drives, the total platform requirements are in the 1kw range.  For smaller configured XPS 700 platforms we also have a 750W power supply.  You would be surprised at how much power all this high-end processing can take.  While we could target higher energy efficiency for this product, there is always a trade off versus performance.  While some customers require this level of performance, many customers like you are more focused on power efficiency.  To meet that need, our OptiPlex GX620 desktop products are Energy Star compliant directly out of the factory by default and are designed in BTX form factors for better airflow and improved acoustics.

    Our Datacenter Capacity Planner tool can help you plan for your server room/data center requirements.   This tool can help you better understand the power, cooling, and airflow requirements that your compute environment might require.  It sounds like your environment might be more limited on power, cooling and airflow than a typical data center—here’s a white paper that provides information on best practices.

  6. Dell is no slouch comes it comes to green computing – good takeback campaign, reduced packaging, one of the first with a four year warranty for their desktops.  I’d like to see a few more EPEAT certified products and maybe some thin client solutions coming from them.  Dell needs something innovative, they only spend 1-2 percent on their R&D budget.  To move forward, they need to lead, do something new

  7. Kudos to Dell for putting forth an effort to collect outdated computers, instead of sitting back and popping them into the landfill.  What ever becomes of them?  

    What about the millions of trashed computers and electronics produced by Dell and other companies over the years?  How is Dell working toward solving this problem?

  8. inDirect2trash: Appreciate your interest.  In my next post, I’ll blog about our commitment to recycling.  Regarding your question of what becomes of PCs after collection, we focus on a priority system of whole system reuse first, component reuse second, and then raw material recovery and reuse (thus our focus on “No Computer Should Go to Waste.” We have specific guidelines associated to our recovery and recycling which focus on waste prevention and pollution, non-export of environmentally sensitive materials, and continuous improvement and reporting.

  9. I think it is great that a company of Dells size is concerned with being Green. Every little bit helps.

    However, what are you doing to address for both your workers and computer users the issues of computer eye strain syndrome and the effects from this?

  10. I too appreciate all Dell is doing on the environmental front. While you have reduced the overall packaging, consumers are left with the plastic foam packaging that supports the computers when shipped. What type of material is this and what are your recommendations on recycling it?


  11. I too have noticed and really appreciate the changes Dell has been making. I continue to break down and recycle all of the cardboard we receive with out orders. I too, however, need to know what can be done with the palstic components. I’ve noticed that it’s all LDPE or Recycling No 4. compatible, but, I’m not sure what places there that accept this. I know Safeway stores accept LDPE *bags* but I am not sure if they will accept the foam. I’ve thought of cutting it down and just putting it in with the bags, but, I’m not sure if they’ll just take it out and trow it away no knowing what to do with it. So, I second the notion that Dell needs to have links on it’s pages leading to recycling information, especially where customers can take their packing materials to be recycled.

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