Dell Pushes for Tech Recycling

Each year unwanted technology comes to rest in landfills - with cadmium, lead and mercury making up some of its core components. If not properly disposed of, these toxic substances pose serious health risks.

Unfortunately, decades have passed were this trend has gone largely unnoticed as technology take-up steadily increases. Industry giant Dell Computer has taken up the task of recycling old hardware through a nationwide tour and home delivery program.

Since Dell made the recycling offer available to consumers last October, "the ratio of recycling to donation has been about 2:1," said company spokesperson Jennifer Jones. She went on to say that Dell does not landfill materials overseas, and abides by stringent guidelines to process environmentally sensitive materials.

Equipment well past its organizational lifespan is either donated to the National Cristina Foundation -- an organization dedicated to providing technology as a tool for develop human potential -- traded in, or simply broken down for reuse.

Columbus, Ohio was Dell's latest stop on its Recycling Nation Tour across the United States. Residents dropped off 30 tons of obsolete "technology equipment ranging from desktops and monitors to mainframe computers." This places Dell well on its way of reaching the tour's stated goal of 100 tons with 72 collected at last count.

Non-sensitive materials including glass and aluminum, which make up the majority, are grinded down into the finest possible particles to re-enter the supply chain.

For consumers unable to take advantage of the recycling tour, Dell has established a low-cost, home delivery system where interested parties can register online to dispose of unwanted desktops, monitors, as well as select peripherals. As of last month, customers seeking to buy a new printer from Dell can recycle their old model free of cost.

The ecological problems posed by technology waste have prompted some nations to require mandatory recycling, while others simply encourage increased social responsibility. Some European nations have already passed stringent laws pioneering technology waste disposal. The United States, the greatest generator of e-waste according to the EPA, continues to tackle the issue.

Dell itself backs industry led initiatives over government mandated programs.

Dell's Jones told BetaNews, "As a customer direct company, we think we can accomplish recycling more effectively through Dell developed programs than through government mandated programs, and generally Dell believes that industry led, market-based programs can be more effective and customer friendly than government mandated ones."

Leading OEMS and retailers such as Best Buy have already established such programs that have contributed a measure of success. In addition, secondary markets have formed including a recycled electronic goods market, and a research and development push to design "green machines."

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