Inside a new notebook computer from HP, one component uses a new material: a blend of ABS, a standard type of plastic in computers, and PET recycled from plastic bottles that could have otherwise ended up in the ocean.
The computer, the HP Elite Dragonfly, uses just a tiny amount of the ocean-bound plastic, recycled from litter collected in Haiti. The material is used in a speaker enclosure that’s made with 5% of the plastic (and 50% recycled plastic in total). But the notebook is the first computer to ever use any ocean-bound plastic at all, and one piece of the company’s larger efforts to make a dent in ocean plastic pollution. Since 2016, HP has sourced more than 35 million plastic bottles from Haiti to use in its products, beginning with ink cartridges, then a monitor using the new ABS-bottle-blend material, and now the notebook. In 2020, all new HP Elite and HP Pro desktop and notebook computers will incorporate the new composite material.
“It’s part of our view of moving to a circular economy and really reinventing our entire supply chain to support that effort,” says Ellen Jackowski, global head of sustainability strategy and innovation at HP. By 2025, the company plans to hit an interim goal of using 30% recycled plastic in its products, a target that it says will be challenging to achieve. “It’s difficult,” she says. “We’re not 100% sure how we’re going to get there. We just know we need to do it.”
Most of HP’s recycled plastic comes from more standard sources. But in Haiti, where local recycling infrastructure is nonexistent—and plastic bottles are often thrown on streets and in waterways, making it more likely that they eventually end up in the ocean—the company works with the First Mile Coalition, a nonprofit that hires local community members to collect plastic litter, and Thread, a social enterprise that works to find new uses for waste. The project creates jobs while addressing one source of the 8-million-plus metric tons of plastic that flows into the ocean each year around the world.