Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/12/12/dell_packaging/

Dell battles HP to trash Mother Earth

1 sheet of A4 paper, bubblewrapped...

By Lester Haines

Posted in Science, 12th December 2008 12:23 GMT

Aboxalypse now HP's ongoing bid to trash Mother Earth by putting small things in really big boxes and, if possible, strapping those to a pallet continues apace, as witnessed by NZ-based Eugene Chan, who recently made the mistake of ordering a licence key from the world's biggest consumer of cardboard:

Courtesy of HP: One DVD in a big box

Scratch one hectare of rainforest, and no messing. However, in the interests of balanced journalism, we'd like to note that if Eugene lived in Oz, his licence key would probably have arrived on a small piece of recycled paper delivered by a courier astride a carbon-neutral mountain bike constructed from bamboo.

Why? Because HP (and make sure you haven't got a mouthful of coffee before continuing) recently secured an Australia Packaging Evolution Award for "exceptional results in packaging environmental design and waste management".

We kid you not. Specifically, HP stepped up to the podium to receive the “Household Goods Packaging Action Award”, prompting Annukka Dickens (Environmental Manager, South Pacific) to effuse: “This award is a valuable recognition of our environmental efforts this far and provides great encouragement to continue developing the programs further in the future."

She insisted: “Packaging and product environmental design continues to be part of HP's environmental focus, along with product reuse and recycling programs and the drive to increase social and environmental standards within our extended supply chain.”

Oh really? Well, let's examine Chris Fryer's experience of how the company drives environmental standards within its extended supply chain.

Chris explains: "I recently contacted HP support about a server that had two faulty memory modules. They agreed to replace the parts, and ordered them immediately. They arrived the very next day."

The two boxes each containing a replacement DIMM

As Chris says, that's "nothing too outrageous in terms of packaging", but the two DIMMS arrived in separate delivery vans within a couple of hours of each other.

The first one came from Leeds, 193 miles away from Chris's office:

The delivery label for the first DIMM, showing it came from Leeds

The second, meanwhile, came from Warrington, 196 miles from its destination:

The delivery label for the second DIMM, showing it came from Warrington

Chris notes that Leeds and Warrington are roughly 57 miles apart, so some planet-hugging logistics could have shaved 139 miles from the total distance of 389 van miles the DIMMs travelled. Oh well, once again, there goes the rainforest.

And speaking of the rainforest, here's what happens if you order an extension USB cable from Amazon:

Courtesy of Amazon: One USB extension cable in a very big box

A good effort there, courtesy of a bemused Rob Day. But while Rob's merely bemused, Dr Simon Clifford is positively shaken by the following packaging outrage perpetrated by Dell. Simon says he ordered (by email) a License Key Certificate which actually consists of nothing more than a modest alphanumeric string:

Courtesy of Dell: One sheet of A4 paper in bubblewrap inside big box

Splendid. The mug on the upper right, in case you were wondering, is included not for scale but to demonstate just how much strong liquor you have to drink to recover from the realisation that Dell is now in direct competition with HP to secure the coveted "Planetary Destruction Goods Packaging Award". ®

Bootnote

Thanks to Matt Russell for the HP Oz award tip-off.