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Dell sent out the technology industry’s first shipment of ocean plastics packaging, the result of a commercial-scale pilot program.

Dell recycled plastics collected from waterways and beaches for use in the new packaging tray for its Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, building on Dell’s broader sustainable supply chain strategy. In 2017, its ocean plastics pilot will keep 16,000 lbs. of plastic from entering the ocean.

Dell transitioned its XPS 13 2-in-1 to ocean plastics packaging beginning April 30, 2017. The company also will include educational information on its packaging to raise global awareness and action on ocean ecosystem health solutions, an area of shared interest between Dell, its Social Good Advocate, Adrian Grenier and the Lonely Whale Foundation. To help ensure the packaging does not end up back in the oceans, Dell will stamp each tray with the No. 2 recycling symbol, designating it as HDPE which is commonly recyclable.

Dell’s Packaging team designs and sources its product packaging to be more than 93 percent recyclable by weight so that it can be reused as part of the circular economy.

The ocean plastics supply chain process is made of multiple stages: Dell’s partners intercept ocean plastics at the source in waterways, shorelines and beaches before it reaches the ocean. It then processes and refines the used plastics, mixes the ocean plastic (25 percent) with other recycled HDPE plastics (the remaining 75 percent) from sources like bottles and food storage containers. Finally, it molds the resulting recycled plastic flake into new packaging trays and ship the trays for final packaging and customer delivery.

Dell’s pilot program follows a successful feasibility study launched March 2016 in Haiti.  

In partnership with Adrian Grenier and the Lonely Whale Foundation, Dell has helped to increase understanding of ocean health issues, using virtual reality technology to bring people closer to the issues facing the oceans. A recent study reported between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste entered the ocean in 2010 alone. Dell has published a white paper on sourcing strategies and plans to convene a cross-industry working group that will address ocean plastics on a global scale.

Published in the May 2017 Edition of American Recycler News