High-tech companies are joining the ranks of leading food companies and retailers in developing new ways to reduce their products’ packaging. Microsoft recently announced that the packaging for the new Windows 7 operating system will deliver a simpler, clean design that is easy to open and reduces waste.
According to the Microsoft blog, the Windows 7 packaging has been reduced to three pieces: the plastic case, paper sleeve and a “Getting Started Guide.” The packaging also delivers a 37 percent weight reduction and the econometrics score has improved by 50 percent over its predecessor. In addition, the plastic case is recyclable and opens easier like a standard DVD case with a single seal at the top of the case.
Microsoft is also promoting the use of digital downloads as a way to reduce packaging and cut carbon emissions. The company recently released the results of a comparative carbon footprint study that quantifies the environmental benefits by providing its software to consumers online. The study found that carbon emissions avoided through online purchasing of 10 million copies is equivalent to the electric consumption of 7,715 U.S. households, or 13,008 passenger cars driven in one year, or 231 acres of Amazon rainforest deforestation.
Other high-tech companies are following similar trends.
As an example, Apple recently announced with the launch of its “greenest” notebook, the MacBook Pro, with packaging that is 34 percent smaller than previous models.
Online retailer Amazon recently partnered with several companies including high-tech manufacturers to reduce its packaging. Amazon launched “Frustration-Free Packaging,” which is focused on eliminating two kinds of items: those enclosed in clamshells and those secured with plastic-coated wire ties. The initiative was launched in the U.S. with 19 bestselling products from manufacturers including Fisher-Price, Mattel, Microsoft and Transcend.