Dell is shipping some of its computers in packaging that includes bamboo components.
Product cushions inside the packaging for Inspiron Mini 10 and Mini 10v netbooks are made of bamboo, a packaging material the company says it plans to expand to other products early next year.
The bamboo cushions serve as an alternative to foam, molded paper pulp and corrugated material that is traditionally used in packaging, according to a press release.
Dell says bamboo is preferable to the above materials because it grows fast, at up to 24 inches a day, and is strong enough to protect equipment during transit. The company is sourcing bamboo from China under criteria from the Forest Stewardship Council.
The exterior of the packaging is made from 25 percent post-consumer recycled materials.
Because bamboo has not been accepted by most city recycling services, Dell is working with Georgia Pacific, UGS and Environmental Packaging International to develop recycling certification for the packaging.
Oliver Campbell, Dell’s Senior Manager of Packaging Worldwide, said bamboo’s viability as a packaging material “can’t be ignored.”
“We’re introducing it with mobile products, as it’s proven a strong, sustainable and cost-effective solution for packaging those,” he said.
He said Dell is looking into bamboo and other agricultural packaging options for a range of products.
This is not Dell’s first foray into the use of bamboo with computers. Last year it began marketing the Studio Hybrid computer, which came optional with bamboo finish.
Dell is implementing a computer packaging plan that will result in estimated savings of more than $8 million and the elimination of approximately 20 million pounds of packaging material over the next four years.