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posted by martyb on Thursday September 23 2021, @01:36PM   Printer-friendly
from the e-waste-recycling dept.

You might be sitting on a mountain of e-waste that Dell wants to recycle for you:

If you're anything like me, you struggle to let go of your old electronics. Be that a mobile phone, laptop, or even an old graphics card plagued by electromigration and capable of a frame a minute—there's something about the act of disposing of it that feels inherently wasteful. Yet it's no less wasteful of me to keep my long redundant technology stored in a cardboard box at the back of my closet.

Hence when I spotted a tweet from Dell promising to recycle my old electronics— whether manufactured by Dell or not—it caught my attention. Will the company actually take my old tech from me and do something productive with it?

To gather some more information, I reached out to the company. Because it's one thing to recycle your own product, it's a whole other to deal with somebody else's trash, for lack of a better word.

And as I would find out from Page Motes, Dell's head of sustainability, the company doesn't see it that way.

[...] Dell sees that e-waste instead as an opportunity to create closed-loop supply for certain materials.

Plastics are something the company has been recycling for some time now, using 100 million pounds of the stuff to make new parts for Dell systems, but more recently it's also begun leveraging rare earth magnets from old, disused hard drives alongside manufacturer Seagate.

Furthermore, I'm told Dell is now reusing aluminium from the old drives, and this closed-loop aluminium has since found its way into the Optiplex lineup, a range of commercial PCs that probably aren't all that familiar to PC gamers but relies on recycled materials for a large part of its construction. Something it'd be great to see make its way into more discrete PC gaming components, that's for sure.

Dell is first to admit it benefits from the program, and it also hopes that might tempt other companies to follow in its footsteps. Motes explains that it's well-aware this is not something that can be done alone, and that it'll need wider support for recycling programs to really deal with the e-waste generated every year that is, for the most part, not recycled or reused.


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  • (Score: 2) by richtopia on Thursday September 23 2021, @02:22PM (3 children)

    by richtopia (3160) on Thursday September 23 2021, @02:22PM (#1180735) Homepage Journal

    True. Many users of this site probably have collections of 20 year old hardware. The local recycler is willing to take motherboards and hard drives; they can make a profit there. I think they'll take laptops and complete desktops at a lower price per weight, and I suspect they are chucking anything plastic in the landfill.

    At this point I'm no longer hounding my father to junk his old hardware. It appears that rare earth metals are becoming even more desirable, and recycling is improving to make that happen. He won't retire off the old HDD collection, but I estimate the payout is growing faster than inflation.

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Dr Spin on Thursday September 23 2021, @06:34PM (1 child)

    by Dr Spin (5239) on Thursday September 23 2021, @06:34PM (#1180798)

    users of this site probably have collections of 20 year old hardware

    I am still using 20 year old hardware (Lenovo T21). 2001 does not seem like that long ago to me.
    My "new" laptop (Lenovo T61) is now 11 years old, and ready to start secondary school. Of course it now has an SSD.

    I would guess several parts of one of my desktops are a lot older - it still has a 3 1/2" floppy drive that actually works, but
    the mobo and H/Ds are only a few years old. Not sure how old my Sparcstation 5 is.

    The new stuff is useless due to not having CD drives and 5 1/2 drive bays for LTO drives - I mean who would go
    without tape backup?

    --
    Warning: Opening your mouth may invalidate your brain!
    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Friday September 24 2021, @11:15PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Friday September 24 2021, @11:15PM (#1181271)

      Don't forget the Lenovo (formerly IBM) Thinkpad legacy is one of reliability first and foremost. They were pretty hard to kill at their time.

  • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Thursday September 23 2021, @10:55PM

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 23 2021, @10:55PM (#1180913) Homepage Journal

    users of this site probably have collections of 20 year old hardware

    My server was about that old ... until it suffered the true death this summer and got replaced by one that was maybe 10 to 15 years old.