Dell makes product packaging more convenient for customers and less impactful on the planet

News Highlights

  • Progress Against Sustainable Packaging Content and Recyclability
    Goals Makes Packaging Disposal Easier for Customers, Better for the
    Planet
  • Recycled Plastic in Dell’s Packaging is
    Comparable to Milk Jugs Stretching from Florida to Maine

In
its effort to make product packaging more convenient for customers and
less impactful on the planet, Dell has eliminated the use of more than
18.2 million pounds of packaging material since 2008. For perspective,
that’s approximately the same weight as 226 fully-loaded 18-wheelers or
almost 4,184 small pick-ups.

 

The reductions, reported yesterday in Dell’s FY 2010 Corporate
Responsibility report, result from the company’s “three Cs”
packaging strategy, which focuses on the cube (packaging volume);
content (what it’s made of) and curbside recyclability of its packaging
materials.

Dell revealed it has made significant
progress toward its packaging content and curbside recyclability
targets. Since 2008, the company has increased the amount of recycled
content in its packaging to approximately 32 percent. Dell is now 94
percent of the way to achieving its stated goal of increasing recycled
content in packaging to 35 percent by 2010, a 40 percent increase over
2008 levels. And more than half (57 percent) of Dell’s packaging
materials can now be conveniently recycled by customers using their
local curbside pick-up programs. The company is aiming for that number
to be 75 percent by the end of 2012.

The Road to
Better Packaging

In December 2008, Dell announced
a plan to revolutionize computer packaging. To achieve this goal, the
company is implementing a strategy based on the three Cs:

Cube

Reducing the size of product
packaging has required changes ranging from the simple (putting fewer
items—disks, catalogs, etc.—in the box, allowing for smaller packaging
and a more straight-forward “out-of-box” experience for customers) to
using engineering tools to run various “what if” scenarios. With these
tools, Dell has optimized its Inspiron 15 laptop packaging so that 63
laptops fit on each shipping pallet, up from 54. More laptops on each
pallet means more laptops fit into each vehicle, which can result in
fewer shipping vehicles and less shipping-related environmental impact.

Content

Dell
has significantly increased the amount of recycled content that goes
into its packaging. For heavier products that require sturdy support,
the company has increased its use of recycled foam versus using virgin
product. Dell has also increased its use of post-consumer recycled (PCR)
plastics from items such as milk jugs and detergent bottles. The
company has integrated the equivalent of more than 9.5 million
half-gallon milk jugs into its packaging. That’s enough to stretch from
Florida to Maine – more than 1,500 miles.

In November
2009, Dell was the first technology company to integrate bamboo
into its packaging portfolio. Bamboo is a strong, renewable and
compostable material that serves as a great alternative to the molded
paper pulp, foams and corrugated cardboard often used in packaging.
Starting with its Inspiron Mini 10 and 10v netbooks,
the company has since extended the use of bamboo packaging to include
its new five-inch hybrid device, Streak,
and a number of its Inspiron
laptops.

Curbside

Dell aims to make “being green”
easy and cost-effective for its customers. Using product packaging that
is curbside recyclable is part of that commitment. To reach its
goal, Dell increasingly selects recyclable materials for its packaging,
including PCR plastics and molded paper pulp.

While
highly renewable and compostable, bamboo packaging isn’t yet accepted
by many municipal packaging programs today. Dell is teaming with Georgia
Pacific, Unisource Global Services and Environmental Packaging
International in an effort to certify its bamboo packaging for
recycling.

Quote

“Establishing
these packaging goals has transformed my team from great packaging
engineers to inspired environmental champions,” said Oliver Campbell,
Dell’s senior manager of Global Packaging. “The progress we’ve made has
kept a lot of materials out of landfills, made responsible packaging
disposal easier for customers and is making Dell a more environmentally
responsible company.”

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