Turning Smog into Substance: How Dell is Using Ink Made from Smog to Print its Packaging

We’ve all heard of the many fantastic ways plastic waste, particularly ocean waste, can be repurposed. Many companies in the tech industry are making huge efforts to find creative ways to be more sustainable – and it’s paying off.

Some work it into their own manufacturing and supply chain, some partner with and assist new companies that have found unique ways to repurpose the world’s waste, some do both.

Take Dell for example.

The PC giant has partnered with Indian startup Chakr Innovations to address one of India’s most prevalent environmental concerns – smog. Chakr Innovations found a way to collect soot particles from the air in heavily polluted Indian cities, like Delhi, and repurpose it into black ink.

Dell is the first major company to partner with Chakr Innovations and use their ink on a broad scale on its packaging. The startup was discovered as part of a larger search for innovative ideas to incorporate into Dell’s goal of a circular economic model.

“[We are searching for innovations] where we think there are opportunities for us to take promising, and in some cases nascent, technologies and then bring our playbook and our expertise in terms of what we do well for scaling technologies and our expertise on supply chain,” says Piyush Bhargava, a senior executive at Dell.

The company has already been working to incorporate ocean plastics into its packaging and products. It appears that smog-based ink is the next industrial-scale effort Dell will make to get closer to the sustainable, circular economic model.

After testing the ink in December 2017, Dell announced that it would use the ink to print materials like user manuals and guides. “It’s our belief, based on what we’ve seen with Chakr so far, that this has potential for industrial scaling, not just in technology applications or in packaging, but anywhere print is used,” says Bhargava.

Sources: Fast Company, WWTS, Chakr, Dell, Recycling Today