Adding to its attributes as an environmentally responsible alternative to traditional packaging materials, bamboo packaging for Dell’s netbook and laptop products has been certified “compostable.” The packaging is made from mechanically pulped bamboo from a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified bamboo forest in China and was introduced last November.
The packaging has received ASTM D6400 certification, which confirms that it will compost and biodegrade at a rate comparable to known compostable materials when added to a hot, active compost pile. The certification also assures that the compost resulting from the packaging’s degradation process is of good quality and can sustain plant growth.
“Developing packaging that is lightweight, strong enough to protect our products in transit, avoids the need to cut down hardwood trees, and can return to the ground to sustain new plant growth—those are the kinds of long-term, sustainable solutions we want to provide for our customers,” says Oliver Campbell, Dell’s senior manager of packaging worldwide. “We’re exploring the frontier of sustainable packaging here, and we’re actively working to integrate more innovative, agricultural materials into our packaging portfolio.”
Dell began using bamboo cushions to package its Mini 10 and Mini 10v Netbooks in November 2009 and recently extended its use of the packaging to include a number of Dell Inspiron laptops.
Benefits of bamboo
Among the reasons Dell cites for its choice of bamboo are the following:
• It grows fast. Bamboo, a member of the grass family, is among the fastest-growing woody plants in the world. It can grow up to 24 in. per day and reaches full harvesting maturity in three to seven years, significantly faster than hardwoods.
• It’s strong. Bamboo’s tensile strength is similar to that of steel, making it a reliable material for protecting technology equipment in transit.
• It’s easy on the environment. Bamboo helps promote healthy soil. The plant’s deep root systems protect against land erosion, and when harvested correctly, it doesn’t require replanting after harvest.
Dell works with bamboo packaging supplier Unisource Global Solutions (UGS) to ensure all processes associated with the bamboo’s production meet the highest standards. The company sources its raw bamboo from a forest that follows FSC principles and criteria. The bamboo forest is located in China’s Jiangxi Province, far away from pandas’ known habitats. Dell worked with UGS to secure FSC certification for the bamboo’s full chain of custody, from the forest to the manufacturing facilities.
Dell’s three C’s of smarter packaging
In December 2008, Dell announced a plan that it says will revolutionize computer packaging. By 2012, Dell aims to reduce packaging volume by 10%; increase the amount of recycled content in packaging by 40%; and increase the amount of materials in packaging that’s curbside-recyclable to 75%.
To achieve these goals, the company is implementing a strategy based on the three C’s:
• Cube: How big is the box? Could it be smaller?
• Content: What is the packaging made of? Could it be made of something better?
• Curb: Is it easily recycled?