Circular Economy. What is it? Why does it matter? Why would Dell care about implementing circular models into their business?
I joined Dell as a summer intern, and had the good fortune of working on the Dell Legacy of Good Film Contest announced with our Social Good Advocate Adrian Grenier (below).
The purpose of the contest was to create inspiring stories on the circular economy movement and the role of technology in creating a better future. Admittedly, I had not heard of “circular economy.” Here’s what I’ve learned. A circular economy means we won’t contribute waste or pollution to the earth. Think of it like we’re in stealth mode ensuring that we leave the planet exactly as we found it; like if you didn’t know about Dell (and weren’t utilizing our awesome products), you wouldn’t even be able to tell we’d been on the earth, utilizing its resources.
For example, last year Dell used 14.1 million pounds of recycled plastics in our products, 3.4 million pounds of which came from electronics recovered through our takeback programs. The company also has a goal to get to 100 percent waste-free packaging, and is even exploring sourcing recycled plastics from oceans and waterways.
The contest winner – "Circular Cellular" – was announced earlier this year, and the filmmakers Ed and Tom, are currently busy filming. While we await their film this fall, I want to share with you the other finalists, whose circular economy story telling inspired me, wow-ed our judges and earned them an honorable mention.
Lifecycle – Filmmaker: Brendan Walsh
In Lifecycle, an inner city junior high class are in search of outdated computed computers. In search of replacing their computers, the class takes a field trip. On the field trip, they learn the benefits of a circular economy.
Legacy of Good (Short) – Filmmaker: Nolan Mellinger
The Legacy of Good film aims to create awareness and teach the concepts of a circular economy. Moreover, it highlights different ways to implement a circular model and how technology helps bring about a circular economy. Visit Nolan's YouTube channel to see some of his work.
Urban Mining – Filmmaker: Paola Cutri
The film shows the tragedy and exploitation behind traditional mining and the linear economy, and focuses on how companies like Dell have the power to drive innovation.
Brick by Brick: The Role of Plastics in a Circular Economy – Filmmaker: Chris Jones
Brick by Brick follows Dr. Eriksen across Cape Eleuthera, Bahamas. Dr. Eriksen is loaning solar-powered plastic brick kiln to a group of local waste-pickers for a 3-month period with hopes the community will embrace the new economic incentive created by the brick. He Legacy discusses the role of technology in solving ecological challenges and creating a more sustainable future. College student leaders, experts and the general public show how each person, company or city, can create their own circular legacy.
Legacy of Good: Solar Mamas – Filmmakers: Audrey Seda & Tommy Tang
The filmmakers are currently filming Legacy of Good: Solar Mamas in the small village of Tilonia, India, home of Barefoot College. Barefoot College, a school for the rural poor, runs a Solar Engineers program which trains rural women from developing countries around the world on how to build and repair solar panels, which they can bring back to their villages to provide their communities with a clean source of electricity. They hope to start a conversation on how solar energy is accessible to everyone.
Reverse Distribution Proposal – Filmmaker: Matt Carney
Reverse Distribution Proposal documents the early phases of an upcycling and reverse distribution program being organized for one of the world’s largest online retailers. The team behind the program consists of researchers from the University of Washington and one of the nation’s leading product stewardship nonprofits. The goals of the program are to divert significant amounts of waste from going to landfill and to call on corporations to take action and ownership over the end-life of products.
How Your Laptop Got to China and Back – Filmmakers: Jackson Tritt & Harrison Flagler
A broken laptop is the leading role in this documentary. The laptop travels to Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility (HCCRF) at Chicago’s Goose Island facility, where items are recycled according to proper US law and regulation. Then, the laptop travels to the southeast Chinese city of Guiyu ( 贵屿 / Gùiyǔ ), the largest electronic waste deposit site in the world. In Guiyu, individuals share the way they would handle this laptop’s technology.
A Phoenix Never Dies – Filmmaker: Remi Vaughn
A Phoenix Never Dies narrates Taliesin West’s journey towards creating an organic and sustainable architectural ecosystem. The film reveals how these concepts could be transferred to building new residential homes and renovating existing homes. Architects and engineers discuss embracing organic and sustainable architecture in their work.
The Great Legacy – Filmmaker: Brooke Teal Robbins
Through inspiring interviews, The Great Legacy discusses the role of technology in solving ecological challenges and creating a more sustainable future. College student leaders, experts and the general public show how each person, company or city, can create their own circular legacy.