Green Product Packaging
Plastic was the greatest innovation when it came to creating ways of packaging products, but after decades of research, we’ve realised that it’s not the friendliest for the environment. Whether it’s the shrink-wrap plastic for batteries or polystyrene and double walled corrugated cardboard for packaging, few of these materials are able to be recycled or composted. It’s tough for consumers to be picky about packaging for a product, but that’s why so many companies are making the change to use green product packaging.
Unilever has made a big decision to reduce the amount of packaging it uses while also focusing on the effect it has on the environment. They’ve changed the materials that make up the packaging and the amount they use, which means they can reduce the amount of packaging material needed for transport and ship more products. This means a saving of up to 55% on product packaging and up to 45% on transport packaging On top of this, they have created sustainable packaging principles to be followed that takes into account environmental, social and economic considerations. They use the 5 principles of ‘Remove’, ‘Reduce’, ‘Reuse’, ‘Renew’ and ‘Recycle’ for packaging. All of the principles have been applied to all types of packaging for products produced by Unilever, from shampoo bottles to laundry detergents, beauty products and even food packaging.
Dell has made a bold decision to use sustainable and eco-friendly packaging for transporting products. They’ve also launched a new initiative to have waste-free packaging by 2020. They’re starting off by ensuring that 100% of packaging materials are sourced from sustainable materials, including recycled and renewable content. They’re also hoping to ensure that 100% of packaging is recyclable or compostable at the end of its life. As parts of the strategy they’re going to be using wheat straw as a sustainable material for packaging. That doesn’t mean we’ll receive our Dell products wrapped in bales of hay, but they’ll be using it to create ‘cardboard’ boxes for products. The wheat straw is a byproduct of harvesting which many Chinese farmers burn, but Dell sees the potential in it for eco-friendly packaging. They will also use other recycled materials for extra packaging. Dell has already reduced its packaging waste by 12% and upped its use of recycled material to 40%, so that by the time the packaging is thrown out, at least 75% of it is completely recyclable. So the next time you buy something from Dell, chances are you’ll be receiving it in eco-friendly packaging!
HP has been focused on being kinder to the environment since 1992. An example being their printer cartridges – in 2007 they redesigned the packaging that reduced greenhouse gasses by 37 million pounds a year – that’s about 3600 cars off the road. In 2003, they reduced the cartridge packaging by up to 80%, meaning they could ship 4 times as many cartridges and save on transport. They have also reduced transport packaging by reducing foam and using recyclable transparent plastic film. For HP, less really is more!
Intel is one of the greenest companies at the moment, running 100% renewable and sustainable power. They make use of biogas, biomas, hydro, solar and wind to create electricity. On top of this, they’re ensuring the products they produce are as green as the power they use to make them. They have also pledged to focus on the environment in terms of manufacturing waste, make their products more efficient and decrease power usage of their datacentre by at least 25%. Their latest line of Xeon processors have also been designed to be greener than other processors of its kind, using less power and being made from more eco-friendly materials.