Dell foresees big savings with greener packaging

The company expects to save more than $8 million over the next four years

While organizations are finding plenty of ways to enhance their products on the inside to be more Earth friendly, some companies are also literally thinking outside the box by making their product packaging greener.

Case in point is Dell, which has announced a new approach to computer packaging that will save the company an estimated $8 million or more while eliminating some 20 million pounds of packaging materials over the next four years.

[ Dell isn't the only company to find savings through innovative packaging. HP is cutting costs and saving trees by shipping one of its systems in padded messenger bags. ]

Specifically, the company plans to 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 curbside recyclable by 2012.

Dell is integrating air-filled cushion technology and renewable materials including molded pulp cushions and 100 percent recycled high-density polyethylene (HDPE) thermal-formed cushions. Milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles are typical materials that comprise the HDPE recycled waste stream. Over the next year, Dell estimates that it will integrate nearly two million recycled milk jugs into cushions protecting its Studio Hybrid system. An estimated 33 million recycled milk jugs will be integrated into desktop and laptop packaging in 2009.

Through its server-packaging option MultiPack, the company is eliminating up to half of the packaging materials and waste that results during typical installations.