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FY06 Global Citizenship Report

» Introduction
» Global citizenship at HP
» Ethics and compliance
» Supply chain
» Energy efficiency
» Product reuse and recycling
» Products
» DfE
» Materials
» Packaging
» Performance
» Goals
» Case study
» Logistics
» Accessibility
» Operations
» Privacy
» Employees
» Social investment
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HP employee with packages

HP minimizes the environmental impacts of our product packaging while making sure it protects products cost effectively.

Packaging environmental impact depends largely on the quantity, type and recyclability of materials used, as well as how the packaged product is transported. HP's packaging engineers use our packaging guidelines and other tools (see page 27 of FY05 report) to address these factors.

Assessing packaging environmental performance is complex, and it involves trade-offs. For example, expanded polystyrene is easily recycled in many regions, but in some cases its use increases package size compared to use of other, less readily recyclable, materials. Its use also increases box material and reduces units per pallet. To weigh these factors, we base packaging decisions on the best available evidence regarding overall impact.

The cost of alternatives can also impact substitution. In North America, boxes with 35% minimum post-consumer recycled content cost up to 10% to 15% more than boxes with virgin content. In addition, to match virgin fiber performance, the box weight needs to increase, which may raise transportation costs. In such cases, we consider total costs, including transport and disposal, as opposed to material cost only.

Eliminating materials of concern from our product packaging is a special focus. We stopped using PVC in new packaging designs for HP product models in 2006, and we will eliminate it entirely during 2007 as we deplete inventory that is already produced. We are developing replacement polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials with 100% post-consumer recycled content where that material is available. We are also moving from polystyrene foam to molded pulp (made from recycled paper) when feasible; in fact, we transitioned all camera products to paper-based alternatives in 2006. In some instances, we have begun using biopolymer – biodegradable materials made from crops such as sugar beet and corn.

Improved packaging can also bring benefits in product transportation. For example, we reduced the weight of our standalone camera packaging from 396g/unit in 2003 to 164g/unit in 2006. The smaller size allowed us to increase the number of units per pallet from 200 to 720, which translated into less energy required to ship each item (see Logistics for more information).

Additionally, by redesigning box and cushion requirements for two commercial desktop platforms, as well as qualifying alternate cushion materials, we reduced average packaging weight by up to two pounds per unit and increased pallet density.


We participate in packaging industry forums such as the Sustainable Packaging Coalition and the Institute of Packaging Professionals (IoPP). We worked with the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to establish an industry-wide environmental packaging certification program, which IoPP adopted as the basis for a worldwide certification exam. Our target is for all HP product packaging design team members to complete this certification or the internal HP program. Starting in 2007, we will require IoPP certification for major packaging suppliers and makers of HP-branded products.

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