Dell Turns to Recycled Plastic, Thin Client for Green Computers

From the people who brought you the bamboo computer come two new greener computers: a new desktop made partially out of recycled plastic water bottles, and Dell’s first thin-client computer, a minimalist PC designed to access remote apps and data.

Recycled water bottles? That’s how Dell is pitching its new OptiPlex 960, announced this morning, which uses at least 10 percent post-consumer recycled plastic in its casing. “That’s about the equivalent of three plastic water bottles,” Curtis Campbell, the OptiPlex’s product manager, tells us. The 960 is part of Dell’s launch this morning of a whole new line of “greener” OptiPlex computers, a series aimed mostly at institutional buyers.

Beyond the greener materials, the OptiPlex also boasts higher energy performance with a redesigned power supply that’s 88 percent more efficient than previous desktops, and reduced and recycled packaging. All this means the desktop has achieved EPEAT Gold and Energy Star 4.0 ratings (just like Apple’s newest Mac line.) For large buyers like government organizations and schools, more efficient computers are important for their financial and environmental bottom lines.

Dell’s first thin-client computer, the OptiPlex FX160, is a stripped-down terminal designed for users accessing files and applications running remotely on a local server or in the cloud. The future of greener home computers will probably look more like the FX160 than the rest of the OptiPlex line as more services move into the cloud and users can accomplish more within their browser. This could mean fewer constantly spinning hard drives and less power wasted on unnecessary cooling, which could be better for global warming.