Dell has been a leader in innovative packaging. Now, we’re going one step further by growing a new heavy packaging material that is sustainable and compostable. Yes, growing.

Mushroom packaging is our newest material. Our pilot program is the start of what we hope will be a new cushioning biotechnology that can serve as a new standard for the technology industry. 
Mushroom Packaging

Challenge  Solution  Benefit 
Challenge: Solution: Benefits:
Find a green alternative for
packaging and cushioning
for heavy products.
Grow it. Use recently
developed mushroom
biotechnology to grow the
protective cushions needed
for the shipment of high-tech
products instead of using
petroleum-based materials.
A sustainable, green
alternative that is also

An evolution

Dell has already gone outside conventional wisdom with the introduction of bamboo packaging in 2009. It was a dramatic move away from polyethylene foam to a natural, sustainable product. However, it did have some limitations. Bamboo was sufficient for smaller products, such as laptops, the Streak tablet or Venue smartphones. It wasn’t suitable for larger products, such as desktops and servers.

The mushroom bioscience is based in using common agricultural waste products. Cotton hulls, rice hulls or wheat chaff are placed in a mold and injected with mushroom spawn. Five to ten days later, the mushroom root structure completes its growth, having utilized the energy inherent in the agricultural waste instead of external energy sources like petroleum. The final product looks and acts like Styrofoam — only this is organic, biodegradable and can be used as compost or mulch, which makes for easier and more environmental-friendly disposal.

The pilot program is being used with our PowerEdge™ R710 server multipacks, with plans to expand use in the future.

Our philosophy

Mushroom and bamboo packaging is an extension of our Three C’s philosophy:

  • Cube — Reduce the size of our boxes.
  • Content — Make the materials we use in packaging eco-friendly.
  • Curb — Make our packaging materials curbside recyclable.

Sometimes, a business idea can have a major social impact. Here, Dell is furthering our progress finding a new, sustainable packaging material that leaves an environment-friendly legacy.