VIDEO | Electronics Recycling, People and Second Chances Through Dell Reconnect

By Sarah Gilliam
Jul 21, 2016 10:10 AM ET

Originally published on Direct2Dell

Did you know your recycled printer may be a part of my new Dell computer?

That’s right. We are leading the industry in efforts to recycle computer plastic. In 2016, we used 3.4 million pounds of closed-loop plastics in enclosures for new Dell products! These plastics were used in 48 flat-panel monitor models and three Dell OptiPlex™ desktops available globally.

Dell is collecting and recycling more used electronics than ever—and using more recycled plastics to create new Dell products. And with only around 15 percent of electronics ever making it into recycling programs globally, the need to deal with society’s e-waste problem continues to grow.

While recycling is well known for its environmental benefits, it’s also about the people who make recycling possible and their communities that become healthier because of it.

Our recycling model is successful because it looks at recycling from all angles—including the human one.

Inside more than 2,000+ participating Goodwill® locations in the U.S., one can witness the positive economic impacts recycling have on the individuals who work there and the surrounding community.

This is where Dell’s unique recycling partnership with Goodwill, Dell Reconnect, goes beyond protecting our planet to also help people with disabilities and disadvantages find jobs and receive education and skills training to better their careers and lives. 

Goodwill employees and those who participate in Dell Reconnect program often describe their roles as inspiring, drawing a connection between helping themselves and the electronics find a renewed sense of purpose.

It’s a second chance for used electronics and people.

That’s a notion we don’t take lightly.

Dell Reconnect is changing lives. Check out how.

“Our computers do get a second chance. Everything in here gets a second chance,” Reggie Feagan, a Dell Reconnect team member with Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, says when interviewed on camera. “We collect millions and millions of electronics.”

This video captures the inspiring work environment that the Goodwill and Dell Reconnect program provide to individuals — enriching the lives of employees while successfully and responsibly recycling used electronics.

Our partnership with Goodwill funds the nonprofit’s mission in job creation, skills training and financial stability tools for people who may be navigating challenges to finding employment or facing other factors that make it difficult for them to get hired and build careers—all while positively impacting the planet by keeping e-waste out of landfills.

Computers, monitors, printers, scanners, keyboards and cables are just some of the items accepted through the Dell Reconnect program. Any brand of used electronics, in any condition, is accepted for free, and all donations are tax deductible. In some locations, Goodwill will also refurbish and resell any used equipment that has not reached its end of life, providing affordable computer equipment to the community.

“Life is about second changes and things being recycled, and you apply that to your daily activities and you have a second chance at life,” Early Caldwell, a Dell Reconnect team member with Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, says in the video. “…by Goodwill and Dell working hand-in-hand to recycle computers, it’s better for our earth and living environment. Not only is this about recycling, it’s also about recycling to make better jobs and to create more jobs to build a better America.”

Every donation to Dell Reconnect accounts for 6.8 hours of job training, giving Goodwill employees a chance to learn new skills and become more independent.

“Taking these classes and going through these different seminars, I’ve educated myself, brought myself up,” Harry Zachary, a Dell Reconnect team member at Goodwill Industries of Central Texas, explains in the video.

Last year, Dell significantly increased the volume of plastics collected through Dell Reconnect. More Goodwill participating locations now contribute to our closed-loop plastics process, allowing us to receive more plastic to reuse in our new products. 

“Closed-loop recycling has multiple benefits, including its potential to reduce the amount of virgin plastics needed for electronics production. This will be especially important as the demand for electronics continues to grow,” Dell’s Director of Environmental Affairs Scott O’Connell explained.

And by increasing the demand for recycled plastics, closed-loop recycling opens up greater opportunities to increase collection volumes—and helps us in our efforts to achieve a circular economy.

Since launching the program in 2004, the Dell Reconnect program has collected and responsibly recycled more than 464 million pounds of used electronics.

In the U.S., we celebrated the 12th year of our Dell Reconnect partnership with Goodwill and added a new member this year: Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries in Springfield, Illinois.

“We are very happy to have this new partnership with Dell. It will help provide our customers with an easy way to responsibly recycle their unwanted electronics,” said Sharon Durbin, president and CEO of Land of Lincoln Goodwill Industries. “Our employees who work in this area will be learning skills like data entry, product sorting, material handling and some logistical jobs like forklift operations.”

Dell offers many reuse and recycling options for customers around the globe, and we partner with Goodwill and other organizations to extend our reach and make take-back solutions that benefit our planet and our communities easy to use.

Find a Dell Reconnect participating U.S. Goodwill location in your area here.

This story shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.

We invite you to explore our FY17 Annual Update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at