Dell unveils ambitious green packaging strategy for PCs

17 Dec 2008

Computer giant Dell has unveiled an ambitious green strategy that will eliminate 20 million pounds of packaging shipped with its desktop and laptop PCs.

The new measures, which will see Dell use renewable materials in its packaging, will save the company US$8.1m over four years.

This is all part of founder Michael Dell’s avowed strategy to make Dell the greenest technology company on the planet.

“We’re challenging every technology company to join us in implementing a global green packaging strategy,” said Tod Arbogast, director of Sustainable Business at Dell.

“In doing so, we will drive extraordinary environmental and cost savings for our business and customers, while setting a new efficiency model for others to follow.”

The company plans to reduce desktop and laptop packaging materials by approximately 10pc worldwide, increase sustainable content in cushioning and corrugate packaging by 40pc and ensure that 75pc of packaging components are curb-side recyclable by 2012.

Dell said it is the only major computer manufacturer with a global packaging reduction target for desktops and laptops.

In 2007, the company exceeded its goal to reduce outbound packaging by 10 million pounds by nearly 10pc. The company’s latest desktop and laptop packaging goal will help preserve more than 150,000 trees.

Dell said it is integrating air-filled cushion technology and renewable materials, including moulded pulp cushions and 100pc  recycled High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) thermal-formed cushions.

Milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles are typical materials that comprise the HDPE recycled waste stream. Over the next year, Dell estimates that it will integrate nearly two million recycled milk jugs into cushions protecting its Studio Hybrid system.

An estimated 33 million recycled milk jugs will be integrated into desktop and laptop packaging in 2009.

Through its server-packaging option, MultiPack, the company aims to save up to half of the packaging materials and waste that results during typical installations.

“Excessive packaging is among the most solvable challenges today. Changing the packaging paradigm presents an opportunity to increase business and brand value through sustainable innovation, resulting in positive environmental benefits,” said Adam Werbach, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, a global sustainability consulting agency that has worked closely with Dell to develop its packaging strategy.

“We congratulate Dell for introducing an important initial framework, which will enhance the company’s sustainable performance, while giving it a competitive edge among computer manufacturers. We look forward to the innovation and collaboration that will help Dell meet and exceed these goals, and hope to see similar strategies replicated across the industry,” Werbach said.

By John Kennedy

Pictured: Over the next year, Dell’s Studio Hybrid will be packaged with cushions made from recycling milk jugs

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years