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Packaging in the Limelight

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Dell Bamboo Packaging for the Mini 10 and Mini 10vIt’s been a big week for packaging – and let’s face it, packaging doesn’t get many big weeks…

Amazon has taken its frustration-free packaging initiative to the next level by launching a certification program. If your product’s packaging is certified ‘frustration-free,” you know you the packaging is easy to open and recyclable. I thought this video demonstrated the concept pretty well.

You might have seen on sites like SlashGear that our Dell packaging engineers got to show their stuff this week, too, with the introduction of bamboo packaging. We’re using it to form the cushions that cradle our Inspiron Mini 10 and 10v inside a box made from 25 percent post-consumer material. You’ll see bamboo incorporated into more of our product packaging early next year, and our engineers are investigating other agricultural materials into our packaging portfolio.

I never thought I’d be one to get excited about packaging, but you have to hear Oliver Campbell, our lead packaging engineer, talk about it. His passion for this stuff is infectious (see Oliver herein the YouTube video in Todd Dwyer's post from last year). I can see why he's excited, especially when you look at what makes bamboo such a great alternative to the paper, foam and corrugate that’s often used for packaging.

  • It grows fast. Bamboo is among the fastest growing woody plants in the world. It can grow up to 24 inches per day and reaches full harvesting maturity in three to seven years, significantly faster than hardwoods.
  • It’s strong. How’s this for surprising? Bamboo’s tensile strength is similar to that of steel, so customers benefit from really strong packaging protecting their new computers in transit. (Bamboo’s strength is also a reason it’s often used for scaffolding in Asia).
  • It’s easy on the environment. Bamboo helps promote healthy soil. It has a deep root system that protect against land erosion, and when harvested correctly, it doesn’t require replanting after harvest.

Dell Bamboo Packaging (close-up)

Oliver and his team are also working hard to ensure all processes associated with the bamboo’s production meet the highest standards. For example, we source our bamboo from a forest that follows Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) principles and criteria, and the bamboo forest is located far away from pandas’ known habitats. See the map below (click on it to see a larger version):

Panda Map

The bamboo is processed mechanically, not chemically, and we’ve worked with our packaging provider to reclaim all the water used during processing.  We’re also working with Unisource Global Services (UGS) to secure FSC-certification for the bamboo’s full chain of custody, from the forest to the manufacturing facilities (which are right there in China), and partnering with Unisource Global Services and Environmental Packaging International to certify the packaging for recycling.

So in summary, our bamboo packaging is good news for customers, products, pandas and the planet. You gotta admit… that’s kind of exciting.

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