Starre Vartan

Egregious Packaging Hall of Shame: Electronics Packaging!

by , 09/20/10

sustainable design, green design, packaging the future, green packaging, frustration-free packaging, green materials, alternative packaging design

Between consumer frustration and competition to green their notoriously wasteful and polluting industry, tech manufacturers have been taking steps to reduce environmental impacts in a number of areas, including packaging (the bonus is that most customers find the reduction and simplification of such to be a lot easier to open). Dell is packing its laptops in FSC-certified bamboo boxes and trays that also include a much lower volume of packaging ‘stuff’ than before. And HP redesigned its printer cartridge boxes after consumer consternation reached a fever pitch, and in the process, “cut down on 15 million pounds of materials over the course of 2007, including 6.8 million pounds of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.”

Apple, which has a checkered environmental past, makes a big deal about changes its made: “The new MacBook packaging is 53 percent smaller than that of the original MacBook. And smaller boxes are much better for the planet. Because smaller boxes mean we can fit more boxes on each shipping pallet. Which means more products will fit on each boat and plane. Which means fewer boats and planes are used, resulting in fewer CO2 emissions.” Not to mention it saves Steve Jobs some cash in the process.

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8 Comments

  1. Egregious Packaging Hal... October 26, 2010 at 11:41 am

    [...] true. One of the places I’ve continually heard that styrofoam can’t be replaced is in packaging for computers and electronics, and furniture. These items become worthless, or nearly so, if even minorly chipped or broken. [...]

  2. Top 5 Green Gadgets for... September 29, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    [...] of gadgets, however today’s guy can be easily beleaguered by unnecessary or poorly-conceived tech — which all too often finds its way into landfills. Great green design for guys has to hit a [...]

  3. burnduck September 26, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Apple did shrink it’s package size of macbooks, but unfortunately the white boxes themselves are packed in the same old carton box as they have shrinked it before, maybe they are using less paper on the boxes, but are they helping much with CO2 emitted with transportation? I don’t think so.

  4. h0va September 21, 2010 at 10:00 am

    calling out apple? really? i know it feels good to call out the one people love, but it\’s close to misinformation to neglect mentioning that the computer inside the box is predominantly glass and aluminum – maybe dell has trendy bamboo boxes, but how recyclable is their nasty plastic computer? also – you might want to use an iphone photo that is up to date.

  5. French Wine Vending Mac... September 20, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    [...] come with a high carbon price tag, to reduce their footprint as well as to cut down on material packaging. The reduction in mass also means that the wine can be shipped much more efficiently, better [...]

  6. Diane Pham Diane Pham September 20, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    couldn’t agree more. clamshells are practically a health hazard!

  7. Jill Fehrenbacher September 20, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Clamshells and blister-packs are the worst! Amazing article Starre – you’ve echoed here what many of us feel. Keep ‘em coming!

  8. Yuka Yoneda Yuka Yoneda September 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I’ve even seen brands selling “eco” electronics over package. It’s the worst when a press person sends you a “green” product for review and it’s packaged in 10 layers of cardboard and plastic.

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