Dell turns e-waste into new products with gold-recycling programme

Technology | Fri 12 Jan | Author – Business & Finance

Dell is announcing a pilot to use recycled gold from used electronics in new computer motherboards to create new products and other delights.

The pilot is an industry first and could support the creation of millions of motherboards going forward. This will also expand the company’s closed-loop programme from plastics to precious metals.

Only an eighth of e-waste is recycled to make into other products. From this, estimates show that Americans are throwing away $60 million in gold and silver every year through unwanted phones alone. As well as economic advantages, the environmental advantages are plain to see. According to a Trucost study, the gold reclamation process created by Dell environmental partner Wistron GreenTech has a 99% lower environmental impact than traditionally mined gold.

Also in the works, ‘The Circular Collection’ by Bayou with Love and Dell is a new, limited edition jewellery collection made in America. This is in association with actress and entrepreneur Nikki Reed. The collection is created via gold retrieved from Dell’s recycling programmes.

Co-founder of Bayou with Love Nikki Reed said: “Bayou with Love was created to bring greater awareness to the human impact on our planet and show that beautiful items can come from sustainably-sourced and recycled materials.

“By recycling gold that was once considered ‘waste,’ Dell and I are working to create an environment where we continuously reuse resources and strive for zero waste.”

Jeff Clarke, Dell Vice-Chairman, said: “At Dell, we pride ourselves in finding better, more efficient ways to do business, particularly throughout our supply chain.

“Materials innovation – where and how we source things like plastic, carbon fibre and now gold for our products – is increasingly important for us. When you think about the fact that there is up to 800x more gold in a ton of motherboards than a ton of ore from the earth, you start to realise the enormous opportunity we have to put valuable materials to work. Nikki Reed gets that and so do we. It takes constant thinking outside of the box and pushing the boundaries of innovation to solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.”

Since 2012 Dell has recycled more than 50 million pounds of post-consumer recycled materials into new products, with 100 million pounds more to be recycled by 2020 as part of Dell’s Legacy of Good Program.