Achieving net zero with sustainable e-waste solutions

Dell Technologies

By Robert Vinokurov, General Manager, Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies Australia & New Zealand
Monday, 11 April, 2022


Achieving net zero with sustainable e-waste solutions

Climate change is an economic, social and environmental challenge with increasingly evident consequences, and human-produced greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause. Methane concentrations have almost doubled in recent years, and in 2021, the highest CO2 concentration reading in human history was recorded at 416 ppm. E-waste is a big part of the problem ­— it’s responsible for 70% of the toxic chemicals found in landfill. Perhaps more importantly, if we were to recycle the raw materials, we would reduce the need to extract and refine more, thereby avoiding 2.9 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of products manufactured.

According to ‘The Global E-waste Monitor 2020’, the world produced a record 53.6 million tonnes of e-waste in 2019. At the current rate, we’ll produce 74 million tonnes annually by 2030. The reduce, reuse, recycle slogan that we apply to plastics, homewares and other lifestyle products hasn’t been readily applied to our electronics. Only 17.4% of e-waste was recycled in 2019, and our consumption levels show no sign of stopping; major technology companies saw drastic increases in profits in 2020–2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic drove people to embrace a digital lifestyle at work and in their stay-at-home leisure time.

Finding the balance between input and output of greenhouse emissions is a crucial step to reducing the extent of global warming, and e-waste recycling programs can go a long way to achieve this. We could save 23,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions by recycling just half of the televisions discarded annually. Not to mention the millions of computers, mobile phones and other electronic equipment we send to landfill when they break, or we upgrade to keep up with the evolving digital landscape.

To achieve net zero without sacrificing economic growth and technological innovation, we need to invest in e-waste practices that create a circular and sustainable economy. At Dell Technologies, we’ve recovered more than 2.5 billion pounds (1.1 billion kg) of used electronics since 2007. But to have a significant positive environmental impact, we’re taking a firm, proactive stance in 2022. We’ve built on our 25+ years of experience in global recycling services to rethink and redesign our approach with a global program — Asset Recovery Services1.

The program has launched locally in ANZ and offers businesses the chance to mitigate their impact while maximising value. We manage the pickup logistics of any brand of leased or owned hardware and sanitise the device to ensure data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. The service prioritises reuse where possible — we resell what we can and responsibly recycle what we can’t, adhering to strict standards for environmental compliance worldwide.

The Asset Recovery Services program simultaneously reduces e-waste and puts money back in customers’ pockets allowing them to fund new technology — it’s a win-win situation. Businesses can follow the entire process online through our TechDirect portal, and we offer a comprehensive report of the process. We hope the clear benefits and hands-off nature of the program will encourage more businesses to recycle their e-waste, to create a culture of sustainability within the tech industry and reduce overall greenhouse gas production.

The next 10 years of climate action will determine the world’s success against the increasing threat. As we rebuild our lives post-pandemic, we have the opportunity to correct our actions with new solutions and produce real, sustainable change ­— for a clean, innovative tomorrow.

1. https://www.dell.com/en-au/dt/services/deployment-services/asset-resale-recycling.htm

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