back to article HP breaks Japanese excessive packaging record

Those of you who don't like trees very much will appreciate HP's continuing efforts to deforest the planet by using the maximum cardboard possible when dispatching items to expectant customers. Here's a big box the company recently delivered to loyal Reg reader Simon Lucas, who's based in Tokyo: Photo of a large box from HP …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Mr C
    Paris Hilton

    i want to be their trucking company

    i lolled at this

    at least some trucking company will be happy at how many trucks per day they need to ship their items

    Paris, because she too is wrapped in an impressive looking package

  2. ender

    That's a DIMM package?

    The inside box is much smaller than the DIMM packages we get here (which are about 20x10x5cm, with a plastic insert that's apparently made to hold 5 DIMMs). The outside boxes are usually somewhat smaller (though not by much).

  3. Rob
    Paris Hilton

    Wrong angle

    El Reg should be investigating whether HP has any financial interest in the recycling game, hence the big boxes.

    Paris, cause I think she must have a big box by now.

  4. Ash
    Thumb Up

    Not surprised

    We needed a firmware update for a switch from HP. It came in a manila CD envelope from the tech folk, which was put inside a cardboard box when it was shipped from HP to our equipment supplier, which was THEN put inside a box roughly the size of boxfile for shipping to our location.

    Amazing, really.

  5. regadpellagru


    Bah, this is peanuts as compared to what HP can *really* do.

    Whenever we install a fully loaded blade chassis, I'm not kidding, there's a full *palet* of small boxes, of which we keep only one sheet per 4 boxes: the licences.

    The rest is countless times the same HPUX install DVD + docs etc ...

    All of that because of the moronic way their logistics is organised.

    Mine is the chainsaw icon :-)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nuts. But on the othe extreme...

    I once bought a dimm from a private seller on amazon. It came wrapped merely in a single tiny piece of bubblewrap secured with sticky tape then popped in a normal envelope. No anti-static, nothing to stiffen it against bending by Pat. The seller told me he'd always done that.

    If that wasn't enough to secure an acid review of the seller, it clearly wasn't ECC as I'd asked.

    Straight back it went.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It could be....

    They needed to put it in a big box because it was shipped on a pallet anyway.

    I know in the past I have had to bulk out packing to fill a a pallet.

  8. zaax
    IT Angle

    ebuyer is close

    I order some ram off ebuyer a while ago and they sent that in a large box.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Helping the homeless

    If I order a 2U rack does that mean I get a free home in the packaging?

  10. Daniel Silver badge

    How has this been verified?

    Just so I understand - I take the smallest thing I can think of, put it in the largest box I happen to have handy, take a photo of said combination and mail it off to the Reg for instant fame. No proof necessary.

    Or was this claim somehow verified in a way which isn't explained in the article?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ooops, there goes another few trees

    Not at all surprised. As an installation engineer, half the time installing a HP server was spent hacking through all the packaging. Installing a dozen disks, a half dozen memory modules, a few NICs, plus the server itself usually involved the deforestation of an area the size of Wales.

  12. Neil Stansbury


    It's all very well whingeing about the madness of HP's packaging, but until HP customers actually start complaining & suggesting to HP that wanton ecological waste will affect their purchasing decisions why would they change?

    We're the consumers - the [purchasing] power is in our hands.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Beats our record

    Every time we buy a Xerox Phaser printer, we get a UK power lead in a box just under that size but maybe twice the height and it always comes the day before the printer arrives on a pallet.

  14. Timbo


    HP be reducing their costs by reducing box sizes rather than personnel........

  15. Major N


    Am I the only one who thinks it a little ironic that the ad link directly under the headline for this story started "Free Paper"?

  16. Michelle Wright

    I had similar once

    From Boots (the chemist people).

    A relative had recently moved to Australia and for Christmas had decided to get me vouchers for boots, it came in the form of a credit card.

    It came in huge box, probably similar volume to that box but more square, full of the those poly bags.


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Not surprised.... company has had a software licence (i.e. a single bit of paper, no disc) delivered in a box about that size from HP!

  18. Greg

    I can't go bigger

    But I can go worse. I once had 4GB of ECC RAM shipped to me from Poland. They arrived wrapped tightly together in bin liner plastic and packaged in a Gillette razor box. Nice.

    Weirdly, the two DIMMs worked perfectly, and continue to do so in my workstation. So if you want resilient RAM, go Samsung. ;-)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Some things never change

    A couple of years ago we arranged to borrow a unix server from HP in order to test our product on HPUX. A lorry arrived with a wooden crate about 7ft high by 4ft square. It was evidently a big machine. We didn't have a forklift truck to unload it, so the driver had to take it away and came back the next day with a tail lift lorry. The crate was too big to fit in the lift, so 12 of us had to heave it up 2 flights of stairs. It took all morning.

    When we unpacked the crate, it contained a 42U rack, that we didn't want or need. Installed in the rack was a single 1U server! We spent the whole afternoon ROTFL.

  20. Stuart

    Excelent service

    It's a pity all the other service providers don't put as uch thought in to customer service. If this was how they tried to get market share soon dell would be sending a techi out in the box to fit the damn part.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    I can beat that but don't have any photos

    When working for a company in the midlands a couple of years ago, we purchased a licence to analyze the performance of one of our hight end storage arrays. A box was delivered to goods-in, on a pallet, the box was approx 1m wide, 2m long and about waist high, it was full of those annoying sticky polystyrene chips, buried in which was a thinner box that contained an A4 sheet (the licence) of paper and a cd. No photos though.

    Mines the one with those chips stuck to it

  22. Dave

    How much cardboard?

    Doesn't look like much to me - only one box inside, unlike the usual bulk-pack style we are used to.

    In any case, I am more concerned by the use of oil-based plastics to fill up the empty space, instead of paper or corrugated cardboard. Much better for the environment to be using and storing wood-based products than to leave them outside to rot.

  23. Luke Wells

    I've seen better

    I nominate CPC and eBuyer for the excessive packaging awards!

    I have photo's that I need to dig out (whitnessed by several office staff)

    I had a 1gb SD card arrive from ebuyer in a box aprox 60cmx30cmx20xm

    CPC win the award though for sending me a pack of 5 toggle switches in a box around 80cmx30cmx20xm

  24. Russell Long

    Ebuyer is as bad

    I ordered a Belkin wireless USB dongle, and received it in a box 4ft long by 2ft wide by 2ft high. A consequence, I assume of stuff being shipped now being priced according to weight rather than bulk (due to changes in EU postal legislation which also led to the closure of thousands of post offices in the UK).

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is a (bad) reason for everything

    It is deliberate - HP are concerned that a small box might be overlooked. This behavior will continue till UPS and Fedex include volume in their charges.

  26. fronty
    Thumb Down


    Yes, very good, and it's not even April 1st.

    Anyone can take an already opened box, take out the contents, then put in some wrap and diddy-ikkle product to make it look like HP are being bad.

    Nice try but I'm too cynical to be taken in by this.

  27. Andy ORourke

    Not the first time by the looks of it:


    By Liam Posted Friday 18th July 2008 10:52 GMT

    thats worse than some packages we used to get. best ive seen is a box about 1m cubed... full of bubble wrap etc... inside was one RAM module, in its protective plastic casing anyway...

    i thought companies were supposed to be getting penalised for this? seems bad that local authorities and customers have so much rubbish/recycling to get rid of!

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Not just HP

    I recently recieved a new Sim card,

    Cue C3 Padded envelope!

    Containg C5 card envelope

    Containg 1 folded page of A4 and a Sim Card.

    I guess the phOne cOmpany in question are only geared for sending out new phones and dont sell many sim only packages... oddly the tout sim only as a greener way to go by recyling your old phone..

  29. Anonymous Coward

    It seems probable

    In a corporate environment that is. I mean I can attest to having received a box delivered to my office that, upon opening, contained an envelope with an invoice.

  30. Tim
    Thumb Up

    I'm gonna buy...

    ...a 42U rack, with a single 1U server! I don't really need it, but the packaging will be the answer to my prayers for my own home. I just need to buy a bit of land now.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    UTP Connectors as well...

    I ordered one bag of 100 x UTP cat5 connectors a few years ago. The next day, an a3 jiffy bag

    arrive containing.... a single connector. To make matters worse, the muppet who picked and packed it would have had to open a bag of 100 to take the single connector out! I mean, one connector? Go figure.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lorry full

    My brother used to work for a firm back in the day that bought thousands of Lotus Smartsuite licenses (why, I don't know!). Rather than post a license certificate they shipped a lorry full of retail boxed Smartsuites each with printed manuals and 30 floppy disks!

  33. Jim
    Thumb Down

    Or at the other end of the scale

    I purchased a new HDD from when it arrived it was just in a flimsy plastic envelope. No bubble-wrap or padding of any description. Hate to think what it's been put through as it passed along the post office system. Straight back it went.

  34. P.Nutt

    Yep, We agree

    But tell Japan to only boast about HP excessive packing when they receive a single page HP license (A4 size) in a box suitable for a 14" monitor and have 8 said boxes arrive the same day.

    Mine is the one made out of spare HP packing materials.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    the airbags in the box

    Reminded me of someone......

  36. Anonymous Coward


    That would be sensible. You can't really expect that from a big multinational.

    Anonymous, because I could end up on their savings list soon ;-)

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just IT supplies

    I remember ordering a throttle cable for a car online. Looks much like a bicycle brake cable, comes in a clear plastic bag, flat, rolled up.

    The box it arrived in, however, was approx 2 foot cube with those air filled bags.

  38. BigSteve
    Paris Hilton

    a misunderstanding?

    I wounder if this came about when the bloke rung HP for replacement memory - the (not so) tech' bloke seemd lost with the term DIMM & was told 'the small memory card type thing, well I need something bigger" - oh thought the tech' bigger now I've got it.

    Although I'm sure the company would use the line 'its to prevent damage'

  39. Mart

    The reason why this is justified!

    You lot are numptys, put yourself in HP's shoes for a minute.

    *Dispatch 1 thats ONE stick of memory to a guy in Tokyo*

    Ok so here's your choices:

    Send it as it is in it's little box, that's not even big enough for a delivery barcode let alone an address too, and due to it's size will most likely get lost by in some warehouse for eternity.


    Put said small box into any bigger box that has been lying around for a while and needs using up

    I know which I would choose if i were the dispatcher or customer!

  40. Anonymous Coward

    To the doubters

    I never discount these stories out of hand for a simple reason. I've spent enough time dealing with HP to have been on the receiving end of their legendary packing techniques. I've seen the kind of thing shown in the photo and worse. There are other vendors that come close, but HP always takes the prize for obscene over packaging.

    Mine's the one wrapped in bubble wrap, suspended by cling wrap, inside a box, inside another box surrounded by styrofoam peanuts, strapped to a palet.

  41. Stewart Haywood

    That's nothing!

    When I was a lad, computers came in boxes so big that we lived in one in middle of road

  42. Rick Brasche

    Apple's replacement iPhone wall charger might be a winner

    the barely over one inch cubed device send in a box with return packaging from Apple (to return the "defective" plug) was about the size of the box in your images. That pen might just occupy a little more actual volume.

    Very close call there. Except Apple is recalling *hundreds* of these.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HP & Bloat

    After a bit of snickering I can only say that this reminds me of HP's habit of driver bloat. Seriously, guys, I only want to print stuff. That requires about two files, if you try real hard amounting to 2MB. Why the bloody hell do you folks need to include 400MB of random crap that I'll never use?

  44. Fred Stevenson-Francis

    Reason for big box

    Probable cause for big box is little ones get lost and tend to find their way out inside jackets etc.

  45. Christian Vest Hansen
    Paris Hilton

    Dell can beat that

    I've seen Dell deliver a single RAM block for a laptop, not by sending it in a box, but by sending two people carrying it.

    At least the block wasn't wrapped in excessive cardboard.

    Paris could teach them a thing or two about cutting down on excessive wrapping.

  46. William Bronze badge

    Carbon Footprint.

    That isn't just any old cardboard box. That is a recycled cardbox box. If HP manages to shift enough volume of recycled cardbox it can claim it is offsetting its carbon footprint. Judging by the picture HP is on its way to becoming a carbon neatrul company. And that has to be a good thing, right?

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Better a cardboard box of any size than those hard plastic packages which are impossible to get into without doing yourself extreme bodily harm.

  48. Chris Holt

    Cisco are no better

    I often receive packages from Cisco, such as SFPs in a box so big that I actually fitted all twelve SFPs into the box one of them came in. But their best is to send cardboard boxes full of packing for an A4 sheet with a toughened outer, with 1 sheet inside with my license key......crazy

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    At least there was something inside!

    I received some marketing bilge from Symbol about there latest and greatest scanner widget, it was an empty box!

    The splash you can hear is another polar bear falling into the deepening and warming sea!

    Paris, her box is used far more efficiently

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Xilinx used to ship me new versions of their software on a CD in a box of about that size.

    I expressed my displeasure and they used the "at least it's recyclable" line.

    The ridiculous thing was that it always arrived weeks after we had downloaded it from their website.

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't come as a surprise

    We bought HP openview last year and the boxes filled a small office. Once unpacked we filled an A4 wallet with licenses and had approx 25 CDs.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Us too

    We have pallet loads of boxes, each containing one sheet of A4 from HP, being licenses for our blades, SAN, etc.

    Because we are very lazy they're still in their boxes, on their pallets, taking up valuable space in the pig room.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    They're getting better

    I came across this... supplying laptops to stores already in laptop bags, which are made from 100% recycled materials too

    and no i don't work for HP!

  54. Peter Gathercole Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Maybe not as good but...

    I took delivery some years ago of some IBM kit, in a big box on a pallet.

    We opened all of the smaller boxes that we recognized, and found that we were left with one moderately sizable one (about CRT monitor size). We opened it, wondering what extra goodies we had been sent, only to find it was completely empty. Apparently, it was to fill the box to keep the other stuff safe. This was apparently normal practice, and IBM had a range of empty boxes, all with IBM part numbers, to serve this function.

  55. jason

    Not bad...

    ..I had my Tesco groceries delivered today...came in 27 bags!

    How many items did I order? 35.

    Even the TV guide came in its own bag.*

    *May I point out I do not understand with EPG etc. the reason for TV guides but my Gf seems to think they are useful.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I once ordered a single drawing pin from Imagine my horror when, two days later, I found the USS Nimitz on my doorstep; deep inside one of the hangars was an enormous container which held a series of ever-smaller cardboard boxes. Inside the final box was a man dressed in a gorilla suit, and when I pulled off his mask... it was me.

  57. Paul
    Thumb Down

    More of the same

    I was recently sent a pair of 2GB DIMMS by HP. Each DIMM was delivered seperately about 1 hour apart. Upon further inspection, it turned out that they had been despatched from different warehouses.

    How's that for wastage? At least boxes can be reused.

  58. Anonymous Coward

    The same with Dell...

    Lately we ordered 30 replacements for faulty CMOS-batteries. The package was as big as my 40" TV...

  59. Geoff Webber
    Paris Hilton


    follow a similar method.

    They use standard size boxes, so you can order a bag of plumbing bits (15mm end-feed elbows, for example) and it will turn up in a box 2ft * 1ft * 18 inches. thoughtfully they use some sort of shrink wrap to stop it rattling around.

    You also get a free screwfix catalogue every time you order -regardless of how often you order.

    Then to top it all off they send you one in the post each month as well.

    Paris because she will need a screw fixed

This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2021