Dell flunks environmental test

michaeldellpicAustin Business Journal

Round Rock-based Dell Computer Corp. needs to step up efforts to recycle and dispose of obsolete electronics products, according to a report released Thursday by the Texas Campaign for the Environment. The Computer Report Card from the Computer Take-Back Campaign ranked 28 companies in four categories of environmental performance.

The Computer Take-Back Campaign, a coalition of environmental and community groups of which the Texas Campaign for the Environment is a member, gave Dell [Nasdaq: DELL] a failing score of 28 percent out of 100, or 14th in the group of 28 companies. Dell is the world’s No. 1 maker of personal computers.

“Electronics manufacturers like Dell are dragging their heels here in the U.S. They haven’t done what Europe has required and what they’ve managed to do there, which is develop a comprehensive, effective and verifiable solution to the growing problem of high tech trash,” says Robin Schneider, executive director of the Texas Campaign for the Environment.

Companies were evaluated on use of hazardous materials, take-back programs for used and obsolete equipment, worker health and safety, and access to information.

Japanese companies scored higher marks, although all the rankings were low.

With a score of 51.5, Japan’s Fujitsu Ltd. [OTC BB: FJTSY] was the only company that surpassed the halfway mark on the report card.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. [NYSE: IBM] and Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Computer Inc. [Nasdaq: AAPL] ranked highest among U.S. companies.

“Computers and consumer electronics contain heavy metals, including lead, cadmium and mercury, as well as polyvinyl chloride, mixed plastics, dioxinlike flame retardants and dozens of other compounds with known or suspected adverse impacts on human health,” Schneider says.

Data were compiled by the San Jose, Calif.-based Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition.

A Dell spokesman couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.