Humanity is at a crossroads. Every year, we use more resources than the earth can regenerate. What’s more, the pressure on natural resources can only intensify. By 2030, global population is projected to grow by 1 billion and the world’s middle class is expected to swell by an additional 3 billion.
A central part of our circular design approach is to consider sustainability at every stage of a product’s lifecycle – from the initial concept to its use and eventual recycling. Our goal is to achieve zero waste by ensuring that every part of our products can be reused or recycled, and we’re making big strides towards it. For example, more than 90% of a typical Dell laptop is recyclable.
The way we all consume resources in the traditional economy has waste as its ultimate end product. But the stuff we throw away is immensely valuable. More than 90% of a laptop is recyclable and a ton of discarded electronics, for example, could contain up to 800 times more gold than a ton of gold ore.
Our circular design approach aims to eliminate the concept of waste, so resources continually circulate within the economy. We do this by increasingly using recycled-content and renewable materials for our products and packaging while focusing on improving energy efficiency, and maximize reusability, reparability and recyclability.
Product design is guided by our design for environment approach, corporate environmental policy and the ISO 14001 standard for managing environmental programs throughout the lifecycle. We also design our products around global regulations and standards, voluntary social and environmental initiatives, and various eco-label programs.
At a corporate level, we focus on operational efficiency and conservation – purchasing renewable electricity and avoiding waste wherever possible. We also work closely with suppliers to extend these approaches to their operations.
When products do reach the end of life, we make recycling easy for our customers with simple, global takeback options. Some of the materials are returned to the start of our production process while others are sold on to other companies for use in their products. We also aid reuse by selling returned and refurbished products through the Global Dell Outlet, keeping them from being recycled before the end of their useful lives.
Beyond products, we employ innovative business models and technologies like cloud computing, virtualization and IoT solutions to reduce the “physical” nature of value creation, helping our customers embrace circularity themselves.