Dell is turning pollution into products

Dell Technologies Inc. is trying to glean something useful from the eight million U.S. tons of plastic that ends up in the world’s oceans every year.

The company announced today that it was starting a pilot program aimed at harvesting 25 per cent of the plastic used to build its popular XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop from the ocean.

“I have been in supply chain and operations for twenty years, and this is the first time my 10-year-old daughter has gotten excited about what I do,” Dell chief supply chain officer Kevin Brown said in a Feb. 22 statement. “This new packaging initiative demonstrates that there are real global business applications for ocean plastics that deliver positive results for our business and planet.”

The announcement follows a successful feasibility study that Dell launched in Haiti in March 2016. During the study, the company’s partners collected plastic from waterways and beaches which was then processed and combined with other plastic at a 25-per-cent-ocean-plastic-to-75-per-cent-bottles-and-food-storage-containers ratio, before being molded into packaging trays for the XPS 13. Dell says that in 2017 alone its ocean plastics pilot should keep 16,000 pounds of plastic from entering the ocean.

The company expects to officially transition the XPS 13’s packaging to ocean plastic on April 30, roughly one week after Earth Day. To help ensure the device’s new packaging does not end up back in the ocean, Dell plans to designate each tray as being manufactured out of the easily-recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE).

The company has a long history of incorporating recycled materials into its products and packaging. Since 2008, Dell has incorporated post-consumer recycled plastic into its desktop PCs, and as of January 2017, reached its original sustainability goal of using 50 million pounds of recycled materials in its products by 2020. The company is now aiming to use 100 per cent sustainable packaging by 2020.

You can learn more about Dell’s efforts here, or check out the video overview of its Ocean Plastics effort, starring Entourage actor Adrian Grenier, below.

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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