The environmental impact of throwing away old computers continues to increase as more and more PCs are sold each year. Consumer concern over this impact is also increasing worldwide. In response, Dell has announced that they are increasing their global recycling programs.
“We have a responsibility to our customers to recycle the products we make and sell,” said Michael Dell, chairman of Dell. “Our direct relationships with consumers allow us to offer this easy and free service and we encourage others in our industry to do so as well.”
Dell’s old policy was no-charge recycling of any brand of used computer or printer with the purchase of a new Dell computer or printer. This service included free home pick-up of the used computer. Under the new policy, the company will also offer no-charge recycling of any Dell-branded product, whether or not a new product was purchased. Dell is also offering recycling of toner and ink cartridges for Dell printers. The new service is scheduled for launch in the US in September and worldwide by November of this year.
The new policy has earned praise from environmental groups. “Dell is setting the standard for the industry with this new policy,” said Kate Krebs, executive director of the National Recycling Coalition. “Recycling of used consumer electronics remains a challenge and Dell is taking concrete steps to remove the barriers of cost and inconvenience for consumers.”
In addition to the new recycling policy, Dell has partnered with the National Cristina Foundation (NCF) to donate used PCs to disabled and poor children. The company will still offer recycling options for computers, printers, and other electronic items from other companies for a US$10 fee, plus shipping costs.
According to the BBC, up to 70 percent of heavy metals such as lead and mercury found in landfills are a result of “e-waste.” In a recent survey, people all over the world indicated that they would be willing to pay more for an environmentally-friendly PC. Will Dell’s announcement help the company regain its edge, after falling behind the growth rate of the rest of the market? Or do Dell consumers only care about price, not environmentally-friendly policies?