Marine Plastic Litter Turned Into Laptop Packaging

Each year 8 million tons of plastic are added to the already existing amount of marine litter drifting on the ocean surface. This is why electronics manufacturer Dell is now developing a circular supply chain based on laptop packaging made of ocean waste.

Marine Plastic Litter

It is no secret anymore that marine litter is a serious environmental threat. But did you know that 90 percent of all the waste entering the oceans is plastic? Currently, more than 150 million tons of plastic are floating on the ocean surface and each year 8 million tons of plastic are added. In order to tackle this problem, Dell has recently started to produce laptop packaging made of marine litter.

An Important Step for Marine Protection

As part of its Legacy of Good program focusing on a circular delivery, the electronics manufacturer has set out to develop a new supply chain. The key pillar of this strategy is to recycle the plastic from the marine environment before it breaks down into small particles. This is extremely crucial because the majority of the plastic is less than 5 millimeters in size making these microplastics a potential harm to sea dwellers.

In cooperation with its social good advocate, actor and activist Adrian Grenier and his Lonely Whale Foundation, Dell organized the collection of plastics from waterways, beaches, shorelines and coastal areas. After the materials gets sorted and cleaned, they are refined and mixed with other HDPE plastics such as bottles or food storage containers. This ensures that the impurities within the ocean plastics do not affect the quality or chemical composition of the end plastic. This mixture is then molded into a recyclable packaging tray for the Dell XPS 2-in-1 notebooks.

The Output of the First Commercial-Scale Global Ocean Plastics Supply Chain

“This new packaging initiative demonstrates that there are real global business applications for ocean plastics that deliver positive results for our business and planet. We look forward to working across industries for broader impact,”

Dell’s chief supply chain officer Kevin Brown said.

The first step to realize this is to repurpose approximately 8.000 kilogram of plastics in an initial run. This means that they are likely to make more than 300.000 notebook trays from 25 percent ocean plastic and 75 percent recycled-content plastic in 2017. Aiming to make all of their packaging 100 percent sustainable by the year 2020, Dell is already looking out for scaling up this volume as soon as possible.

The printing industry has found many ways to contribute to marine protection – we already presented some pioneers in this field: Reef Design Lab, Fishy Filaments and adidas on this blog.

Can you imagine other approaches to use ocean waste within printing production processes? We are looking forward to your comment.