December’s dustbin demon – Dell packaging

Filed in Blog by on December 9, 2008 7 Comments
FavoriteLoadingAdd article to favourites

dell earthI was a bit uninspired for this month’s Dustbin Demon, but then Mr Green took receipt of his new laptop.

He spent many months looking into the recycling policies of companies and decided upon Dell. Dell pride themselves on ‘industry-leading recycling’ and claim they have ‘built environmental consideration into every stage of the Dell product lifecycle’.

Every stage, it would seem, apart from the packaging…….

One autumn morning, a delighted Mr Green skipped downstairs to sign for his Dell parcel. He bought in a rather lightweight cardboard box and ripped off the packing tape with wild abandon.

Inside the box he found his computer nestled in some recycled plastic moulding. Yay! The laptop was inside a protective plastic bag made from LDPE number 4, which can be easily recycled. Hurrah!

But then, dear readers, he investigated the other box and found this:


Huddled in the corner of the box, cowering for comfort were two leads and 3 cds. Clearly agoraphobic, we rescued them from their packaging at once and gave them a little green love. The small plastic bags the leads were in were a number 7: Non-recyclable composite landfill material. The box was HUGE; in fact, as you can see from this picture, you can happily fit the leads, CDs AND laptop in the same box.


More to the point, you could fit everything into a box half the size of this one.

So Dell, your environmental policy needs a little work. The computer may well be recyclable, but what about the packaging?

Now I know why they offer the ‘plant a tree’ scheme for all customers. It’s so they can cut those trees down to make their cardboard boxes.

What about you? Do you have any stories to tell about excessive packaging?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (7)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Mrs Green,

    A great post for this time of year. It seems Dell are Talking the Talk only. To make them Walk the Walk will require consumer feedback.

    This is probably the standard today. Zero Waste enthusiasts have to buy on their terms, where practicable.

  2. Katy says:

    That’s weird. My new Dell laptop came in a box that wasn’t oversized at all. One very flat box held the leads, CDs and manuals, and it fitted precisely into the main box that was perfectly sized for the computer and its protective recycled foamy bits. Sad that they can’t be consistent 🙁

  3. Mr Green says:

    To be honest, I think Dell are in a mess over this model I bought. The specification is Not what I ordered and 2 major features are missing. One is an Instant on feature that allows the user to browse the internet for several days on one battery charge. I especially wanted this as an economy feature that reduces electricity usage. The other thing missing was the backlit keyboard, especially useful in low lighting conditions. Again this seemed useful to me as I would be able to use it weithout lots of lights on in the room. Generally NOT very happy with my new Dell computer 🙁

  4. Hi Mr Green,

    The cordless phone is playing up so I went to Argos for a back-up standard one. A BT Decor phone was purchased. Expecting plastic, the actual cardboard box with tissue paper wrapping round the phone parts was a pleasant surprise. The only plastic waste was 4 battery wraps and a cord wrap.

  5. Mrs Green says:

    John, what an amazing find in Argos. Things are definately looking up.

    Katy; that’s so frustrating about the Dell packaging. If they can get it right for you, they can for all customers. Perhaps they have some old packaging to use up. As it happens, this one is going back anyway, as Mr G is not a happy bunny with his purchase……..

  6. Deb from Boston says:

    A co-worker just sent me this link on Dell’s goal to save costs by reducing and using recycled materials in thier packaging. Perhaps they’ve read your blog ; )
    ” Rather than fire people, Dell will reduce packaging costs”

  7. Mrs Green says:

    Hi Deb, what a great find! Thank you – I’ll pass it along to Mr Green for a read too 🙂

Leave a Reply