Note from Lionel: Our recent announcement that we became the first major computer manufacturer to ban exporting e-waste to developing countries kicked off some chatter around the web. Tweets and retweets like this one from Baratunde Thurston helped spread the news. Much of the reaction was positive, like this one from Fast Company. Engadget pointed out that there is still room for improvement for Dell. But for me, Treehugger raised some key issues in their reaction. While she agreed Dell’s policy was a good thing, Jaymi Heimbuch says it should not make Dell “some sort of superhero on e-waste…” I think she’s right. But, the fact is at this point in time, policies like ours are not the standard in the industry. This represents a step in the right direction, but it’s just a start.
With that, I wanted to turn your attention over to a guest post from Barbara Kyle, who is the national coordinator from the Electronics Takeback Coalition.
Environmentalist Applauds Dell’s Pioneering E-Waste Policy
Barbara Kyle, National Coordinator, Electronics Takeback Coalition
Dell now has the strongest e-waste export policy in the industry, and environmental and consumer groups applaud Dell for demonstrating leadership on such an important global issue. Dell’s policy prohibits the export of electronic waste to developing countries.
Why is this so significant? E-waste dumping has become a global problem. A large percentage of the electronics that reach U.S. recyclers is not recycled at all, but instead are exported to developing nations such as China, India, Ghana, Nigeria and others in Asia and Africa. Too often, these products go into an “informal recycling sector” where workers use primitive, dangerous practices, creating toxic emissions that contaminate the workers, nearby residents and the environment. Even products sent for repair and refurbishment in these countries is often non-repairable junk.
Dell’s export policy sets the standard for the industry and serves as the model for long overdue federal policy on e-waste export. Dell won’t allow non-working electronics to be exported for repair or recycling in developing countries.
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition, which promotes responsible recycling and green design in the electronics industry, lauded Dell’s e-waste policy as the highest standard in the industry.