Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) on Tuesday became the first major computer manufacturer to ban the export of non-working electronics to developing countries as part of its global policy on responsible electronics disposal.
Dell's electronics disposition policy now exceeds the requirements of the Basel Convention, which bans the export of certain electronic waste based on its material or chemical composition.
By expanding its definition of electronic waste to include all non-working parts or devices, irrespective of material composition, Dell aims to help prevent the unauthorized dumping of electronic waste in developing countries by requiring that equipment be tested and certified as "working" prior to export.
Environmentalists and consumer groups applauded the new policy, calling it the "highest standard in the industry."
"Dell's export policy sets the standard for others in the industry and should serve as the model for long overdue federal policy on e-waste export," said Barbara Kyle, Electronics TakeBack Coalition National Coordinator. "Unless a company has a strict program to prevent it, there is a high probability that their recycling vendors are exporting the e-waste they handle. Dell's policy goes beyond its competitors, some of whom are still exporting non-working products to developing countries."
Dell's policy also states that every reasonable effort will be made to control all electronic wastes and prevent it from entering landfills or incinerators.
Dell said electronic waste processed by its disposition chain is tracked and documented throughout the entire chain of custody until final disposition, and that Dell will audit its recycling, refurbishment and processing vendors at least annually to ensure they conform with Dell's policy and environmental performance standards.
Tod Arbogast, director of sustainable business at Dell. said: "As one of the world's leading providers of technology, we recognize our responsibility to ensure that technology is disposed of properly at the end of its usable life. We strongly encourage the rest of the industry to do the same using globally consistent practices like these."