Dell’s Global Green Packaging Strategy

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We’ve all heard of the three R’s, “Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle,” but have you heard of the 3Cs? The Dell packaging team, led by Oliver Campbell, has translated the three Cs (“Cube, Content & Curb”) into new packaging designs and innovations that are driving new efficiencies and financial savings while helping customers become environmental leaders.

Over the next four years, these packaging improvements will reduce desktop and laptop packaging materials by approximately 10 percent worldwide, increase sustainable content in cushioning and corrugate packaging by 40 percent and ensure that 75 percent of packaging components are themselves curbside recyclable. The improvements will help save more than $8.1 million and eliminate 20 million pounds of packaging material, the equivalent of preserving more than 150,000 trees. Dell’s new packaging designs are generating a lot of interest by our customers and by the media, including recent articles in Business Week & Bloomberg.

The first ‘C’, Cube, targets the size of the shipping container. The team recently redesigned the packaging for the Dell Inspiron 1318 reducing the cube size by 50 percent. The lessons learned and strategies employed during that effort are being applied to future product releases.

The second ‘C’, Content, considers the packaging material. Specifically, the team is working to change the packaging material to lighter, smaller and recycled materials. The team recently experimented with Air Paq technology that reduces disposal volume by 150:1 from traditional Styrofoam packaging We shipped more than 30,000 units in EMEA during a pilot this summer.

The third ‘C’, Curb, includes using packaging that is recyclable specifically at the curbside – offering the highest level of convenience to customers so they can easily recycle the packaging. For example, some of our new products are packaged in materials made from recycled milk jugs & recycled cardboard that are curbside recyclable.

Update: For an overview of what this is all about, watch this video from Oliver Campbell from our global packaging engineering team at Dell. To see a few pictures of what this new packaging looks like, take a look at this set on Dell Official Flickr page.

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

Dell is the only major computer manufacturer with a global packaging reduction target for desktops and laptops. And, like many of Dell’s green initiatives, the reduction in waste not only helps to improve the environment, but also saves money.  

Packaging has long been a concern of our customers and the packaging ideas on IdeaStorm helped to provide added impetus to our mission. Folks in the Green Room – the Dell Community’s new environmental forum – should be especially interested in this news given that a lively discussion around packaging is already underway. Our thanks to those of you who have submitted ideas and joined in the conversation. We are listening and working on a number of your suggestions and concerns. Let’s keep the momentum going!

About the Author: Todd D

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