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Dell Says ‘Ocean Plastic’ Packaging Is Cost-Effective, Scalable

Dell has begun shipping its XPS 13 in materials made in part from plastic pollution from the ocean. The company spent about 18 months doing a detailed assessment and validation, followed by a pilot, based on using ocean plastic in a way that is cost-effective and commercially scalable.

The notebook is nestled inside a gift box, resting upon a tray made from high-density polyethylene, which in turn is made up of 75% post-consumer recycled HDPE and 25% “ocean plastic” that was intercepted from streets, canals and rivers before it reaches the ocean, says Oliver Campbell, Dell’s director of procurement and packaging innovation (via Packaging World).

While companies often hesitate to discuss the cost – or cost savings – of their environmental programs, the truth is that the business-case for sustainability must make sense in order for sustainability to remain viable. Campbell, on the other hand, is happy to talk about the business case for sustainable packaging. When it comes to innovative packaging materials compared to traditional materials, for example, “they had to be at cost parity or better,” he says. Sustainability must lead the way to the future not only by “being greener,” but through cost savings, he said.


The company will begin by using 8 tonnes of ocean plastics and will continue to scale the program in coming years. Dell says that up to 40% of plastic litter dumped on land ends up in the oceans, according to New Scientist.

In 2009, Dell began using bamboo in its packaging, using it to cushion some of its lighter-weight products.

Dell’s ocean plastics packaging initiative won a 2017 Top Project of the Year Award from Environmental Leader.

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