Dell, the Texas-based computer manufacturer, is fueling a push for conservation companywide. The brand calls its systems “Green by Design,” and rightfully so. Dell considers the environment in all aspects of its product life cycle, from design and engineering, to packaging and recycling.

One of its goals, related to packaging, is to eliminate 20 million pounds of packaging materials between 2008 and 2012 and make the packaging it does use more sustainable.

Dell calls the strategy the “Three Cs of Smart Packaging”:
  • 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?
Dell’s December 2008 commitment to eliminate 20 million pounds of packaging by 2012 includes the following measures:
  • Shrinking packaging volume by 10% (Cube). To date, Dell has already reduced packaging volume by more than 13%.
  • Increasing the amount of recycled content in packaging to 40% (Content). To date, Dell has increased the amount of recycled content in packaging by approximately 33% (94% of the way to its goal). Dell has integrated the equivalent of more than 9.5 million half-gallon milk jugs into its packaging.
  • Increasing the amount of curbside-recyclable material in packaging to 75% (Curb). To date, Dell has increased this amount to 57%.
Another way Dell is striving to facilitate this goal: In 2010, it became the first computer manufacturer to offer sustainable bamboo packaging. And, to ensure the sustainability of the bamboo, Dell only accepts bamboo from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forests. The package is stronger than steel, renewable and promotes healthy soil. It is also local to manufacturing sites, biodegradable and certified compostable. Two-thirds of Dell’s portable devices will ship in bamboo packaging by the end of 2011. “Excessive packaging is among the most solvable challenges today,” said Adam Werbach, CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, a global sustainability consulting agency that has worked closely with Dell to develop its packaging strategy. “Changing the packaging paradigm presents an opportunity to increase business and brand value through sustainable innovation, resulting in positive environmental benefits.”