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Green Packaging and Shipping

Sustainable solutions for green packaging and product delivery

Packaging protects products. Shipping gets them where they need to go. Simple enough, but both can leave a substantial environmental footprint when you’re shipping roughly a product per second around the world like we do. We follow a "3Cs" strategy around reducing our impact through the cube (the box itself), the content (what it's made of) and the curb (how easy it is to recycle).

At Dell, we see green packaging and product delivery as an opportunity for innovation — helping businesses and homes reduce their waste through:
  • Creative packaging design: Reduce the size of the box and you get more boxes in the same space for shipping. Put more products in one box — like we do using our Multipack for some orders — and there’s less waste overall.
  • Innovative materials: We pioneered the use of natural materials in our packaging, like our bamboo and mushroom cushions, our new wheat straw initiative and our new AirCarbon bags. We also make it easy for customers to recycle the packaging they do receive.
  • Better logistics: Shifting many international shipments from aircraft to ocean freight is just one example of how our work, to constantly refine our transportation network, delivers better ways for getting products to you safely and with a minimal footprint.



Creative packaging design reduces size
Creative packaging design reduces size

As part of Dell’s packaging strategy, we streamline the size of our boxes and cushions in order to reduce overall packaging volume. Smaller boxes means more Dell products per shipment, which translates to fewer emissions generated per product shipped and ultimately, less waste for you.
Additionally, we created Multipack for times when you place large orders of certain products like servers, notebooks or desktops. By combining multiple items in one box, Multipack significantly reduces the amount of cardboard you’re left with — cutting the number of boxes by as much as 90 percent. Learn more about Dell’s Multipack packaging solution.

Innovative materials are greener, easier to recycle
Our packaging engineers draw inspiration from nature, looking to the materials and processes that are renewable and self-sustaining. This includes a focus on finding the right material in the right region for the right product. It also means making it easy for you to recycle packaging when you’re done with it.Content: Use recycled and sustainable materials
Dell was the first technology company to use bamboo cushions to replace foam. The rapidly renewable material is light, strong and grows back at up to an inch per hour. Plus, we source it from sustainable forests near our manufacturing, further reducing our environmental footprint. Learn more about our bamboo packaging.

Mushrooms are proving to be a great packaging alternative. By injecting mushroom spores into a mold with agricultural wastes like cottonseed and rice hulls, we are actually growing cushions that serve as an organic, compostable alternative to Styrofoam for heavier products like servers. Learn more about our mushroom packaging.

Wheat straw is our newest sustainable packaging initiative. We’re using the straw (normally burned as waste) and mixing it with recycled paper fibers to create boxes for notebook and desktop products. This process reduces pollution while using less water and energy than traditional manufacturing. Learn more about our wheat straw packaging.

Better logistics minimize the environmental profile

By continually evaluating our transportation and logistics, we are finding better, greener ways of delivering products to you no matter where you live.
For example, we are increasingly taking advantage of efficient ocean-going cargo containers instead of air freight to cut the amount of fuel needed per product shipped. In fact, our Air-to-Sea initiative helped one of our customers reduce the associated carbon emissions for their shipment by more than 92 percent. We also participate in the EPA’s SmartWay program and expect our carrier partners to as well.Optimizing transportation
To make our shipping efforts even more efficient, we have refined our processes for building pallets and loading trailers, in order to get efficiently used space to load products for shipment. This reduces trips and carbon emissions.

Wheat straw: The next evolution in packaging

Wheat straw: The next evolution in packaging

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FY14 Progress Points 
BulletIncreased the percentage of packaging using sustainable materials to 58 percent, up from 57 percent in FY13 
BulletIntroduced wheat straw packaging, avoiding 180 tons of CO2 emissions 
BulletAwarded the first Visionary Award for The Global Packaging Industry by Packaging Digest 
BulletFY14 Corporate Responsibility Report 
Corporate Responsibility Report