Dell Inc., an arm of Dell Technologies, said last week that its first-ever recycled gold jewelry collection created in partnership with actress, entrepreneur and activist Nikki Reed is now available for pre-order. The limited edition collection debuts today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
In partnership with Reed’s sustainable apparel and accessories company, Bayou With Love, the two companies collaborated to create “The Circular Collection by Bayou With Love,” a line of 14- to 18-karat gold rings, earrings and cuff links made of gold recovered from Dell’s recycling programs. Beginning at $78, the entire line is made in the U.S. and manufactured at R&M Fine, a factory based in L.A.
All of the gemstones are sustainably sourced and the collection integrates uncommon materials, such as hemp-painted enamel. Dell said its initiative to reuse gold, which is recovered from computer motherboards, or “e-waste,” is an “industry first.” The prevailing concept is to “create value from waste,” the company noted.
Dell began working with sustainable materials in products and packaging over a decade ago when they ventured into reusing post-consumer recycled materials into its product offerings. Since 2012, the company has recycled more than 50 million pounds of post-consumer recycled materials into new products, according to the firm. Dell started with plastics, which the company reused back into its supply chain and scaled across products.
The project with Reed is their first foray into metals: “Beyond plastics, what can we do with metals?” asked Carly Tatum, a senior consultant and director of corporate responsibility communications at Dell.
“Part of partnering with Nikki is bringing more visibility to the different materials that are in your products,” Tatum said. Dell approached Reed approximately a year ago, when the firm was seeking a partner for its jewelry initiative. “We wanted to find somebody who was a voice in the sustainability movement,” Tatum said of Reed. “She seemed like a perfect partner [for] this.” Reed is well known for her activism in sustainability, as well as her portrayal of the vampire Rosalie Hale in “The Twilight Saga” and the 2003 film “Thirteen.”
Reed told WWD, “I think it pushes people outside their comfort zone to consume in a way that’s sustainable [or recyclable].” She added, “When we’re talking about gold, I think that this is a no-brainer. Hearing these stats from Dell and learning all [of] these facts, [such as] the fact that $60 million of gold and [silver] are literally discarded and found in landfills just from cell phones alone in the U.S. every year is mind-blowing,” she said.
The theme of the collection is a “circular economy,” which Dell brought into the conversation with Reed. “From an aesthetic standpoint, it really makes sense,” Reed told WWD. “Everything we designed is circular in its design, and so there’s that visual reference. But also, recycling and up cycling — [which] is part of the dialogue that I have with my fan base — those things don’t only have to consist of purchasing new items that are recycled or up cycled. You can also pass things down, and that’s a form of recycling.” Described as “timeless,” “delicate” and “minimalistic,” the pieces are designed to “be worn for a lifetime and maybe a lifetime that even goes beyond yours,” Reed said.
Through the company’s Dell Reconnect program, a complimentary “responsible recycling service,” U.S. consumers can drop off used or unwanted electronics at participating Goodwill Industries locations, while businesses interested in the initiative can tap into the firm’s Asset Resale and Recycling Services program. And the program accepts used electronics from all interested technology companies to up cycle into new products through an environmentally responsible extraction process, according to Dell. In reference to Dell’s inclusivity of technology brands, Reed told WWD, “Dell offers up this information because they want to, as a tech company, find solutions. They’re really spearheading this mission and I have to give Dell the credit for this because they’re the ones out there not acting as an island.”
Dell’s partner, Wistron GreenTech, an environmental technology firm, retrieves the used or unwanted electronics from Goodwill locations, breaks down the used electronics into individual components and extracts the gold from the motherboards, which is then used by Bayou With Love to make the gold jewelry.
The gold reclamation process created by Dell and Wistron GreenTech has a 99 percent lower environmental impact than traditionally mined gold, according to a Trucost study, the firms reported. The process of reusing and recycling gold from used technology also avoids health hazards and the “leaching of pollutants” associated with mined gold, the company said.
Jeff Clarke, Dell vice chairman, said, “At Dell, we pride ourselves in finding better, more efficient ways to do business particularly throughout our supply chain. Materials innovation — where and how we source things like plastic, carbon fiber and now gold for our products — is increasingly important for us. When you think about the fact that there is up to 800 times more gold in a ton of motherboards than a ton of ore from the earth, you start to realize the enormous opportunity we have to put valuable materials to work.”
Dell’s Legacy of Good program pledged to recycle 100 million pounds of recycled content into its portfolio by 2020, according to the firm. The company also announced its industry-first pilot to use recycled gold from used electronics in new computer motherboards, which will welcome its award-winning Latitude 5285 2-in-1s this spring, the company said. Its “closed-loop gold process” could potentially support the development of millions of new motherboards in the next year and further “expand Dell’s closed loop program from plastics to precious metals.”
“It’s missions [and projects] like this that really prove there’s so much more out there that we can be doing, that we should be doing, and now is really the time,” Reed said. She added that the initiative was conceptualized, visualized and brought to life from a group of women: “And that in and of itself is incredibly powerful,” Reed said.
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