Wheat Straw: The Next Evolution in Dell Packaging

By Dell Inc.

Dell customers throw away less and can recycle more, because Dell is a leader in sustainable packaging innovations. We were the first in the industry to use bamboo packaging, mushroom-based packaging, packaging made from greenhouse gas emissions and packaging made from wheat straw. Wheat straw is the leftover canes after the wheat grains are harvested and is treated mostly as waste. In some countries – like China – farmers burn it, contributing to air pollution and creating a public health hazard. Dell upcycles this straw into the boxes we manufacture in China to ship products.

In FY15, we transitioned much of our notebook product packaging from bamboo to sustainably sourced paper- and wheat straw-cushions. We now use 800 percent more wheat straw than we did in FY14! This growth came primarily from increased use in cushioning materials. We also continued to use the material for manufacturing boxes and cushions for laptops produced in China (for global distribution). 

In fact, in FY15, we increased the percentage of sustainable materials used in every type of our Dell product packaging. By the end of the year, 100 percent of the packaging for Dell tablet shipments and 92 percent of the packaging for laptop shipments was sourced from sustainable materials (up from 86 percent and 85 percent, respectively, in FY14).

We used several tactics to increase our sustainable materials usage. As we introduced new products, we standardized our packaging configurations across multiple models and replaced petroleum-based foams with paper pulp and wheat straw cushioning, which are actually less expensive in addition to being more sustainable. We also re-engineered some of our packaging to reduce the need for separate cushioning— our tablet packaging is now composed completely of cardboard.

Many companies in other industries are following our lead and using wheat straw in their packaging. This is great to see. The industry also took notice when YFYJupiter’s Npulp® (wheat straw product) won the Silver Medal for Sustainable Systems at the 2014 Edison Awards. We continued working with the company to identify opportunities for expanding our use of this material.

Our wheat straw packaging is one way we’re meeting our sustainable packaging goals as part of our Dell 2020 Legacy of Good Plan. Our second annual report on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan shares more about Dell packaging innovations.

Watch the video to see how our innovative process turns a waste product into a useful material, to create a more sustainable cardboard box that Dell customers can easily recycle.

Explore more about Dell sustainable packaging dell.com/packaging

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