This was what was in the massive boxes

2.5" hard drive and some memory

The supermarkets are an easy target for excessive packaging, but those massive boxes from yesterday’s post, not from a supermarket, contained: One 2.5” hard drive in one box and a memory module in the other. It gets more bizarre in that both these items are from the same order. Why did hard drive have to be boxed up in addition to it’s already comfy housing? Could that memory be packed in a jiffy?

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Picture of Jon Tan

Hi Simon. I agree, they could be, but as a designer who once worked in a packing warehouse for this kind of gear, I know that it’s often the case that packers are just given a heap of raw cardboard, a palette knife and tape to make up boxes. So there’s probably a heap of cardboard gone to landfill that was left over from cutting the box to shape too.

Also, couriers charge by weight, not volume. If the companies eyes are firmly on the fiscal, not the environmental (as it was where I once worked) they couldn’t care less. Shameful, but true.

Getting rid of the anti-theft, hand-slicing plastic packs wouldn’t be a bad thing either!

Posted by Jon Tan on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 10:38 GMT

Picture of Simon Clayson

I can completely see what is going on. When it comes to numbers, there’s no arguing the toss with some companies. This should probably be the case, but are there incentives to cut down on packaging?

Interesting though that the Post Office now takes volume into account. I think it’ll be another year before we get a clear picture of how it’s affected them.

Posted by Simon Clayson on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 10:51 GMT

Picture of Jon Tan

I think the incentives are fiscal too (even if they don’t care about environmental impact) but it takes the kind of joined-up thinking and change management that large, lumbering companies find painful. For example, the carbon footprint of making cardboard may well be significantly less than for tape or Jiffys. Packaging design can cut boxes that require almost nil tape. The excess cardboard could be used for protection padding. Everything is recyclable except the tape. Everyone and everything benefits.

There are lots of companies and advice to do it. No excuse in my book.

Posted by Jon Tan on Wednesday, December 12, 2007 at 11:11 GMT

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