back to article Dell battles HP to trash Mother Earth

HP's ongoing bid to trash Mother Earth by putting small things in really big boxes and, if possible, strapping those to a pallet continues apace, as witnessed by NZ-based Eugene Chan, who recently made the mistake of ordering a licence key from the world's biggest consumer of cardboard: Courtesy of HP: One DVD in a big box …


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  1. TeeCee Gold badge

    That award.

    Makes perfect sense to me.

    "Environmental design". It all appears to be cardboard and paper (no bubble wrap here and a pile of fail to Dell on that one), so certainly recyclable and the stuff may even be sourced from sustainable / recycled resources. Tick in box one.

    "Exceptional". Yup. I'd be prepared to go to "astonishing" or even "outrageous" meself. Tick in box two.

    "Waste management". There's enough here to drive an entire industry recyling HP boxes alone. Tick in box three.

    Am I missing something?

  2. Z
    Thumb Down


    I can see how they got their environmental award - they never through anything away. Instead it gets used as packaging material, which gets sent to everyone else who then has to throw HPs rubbish away for them.

    Ridiculous. Also goes to show that these awards are worth less than Gordon Brown's recent raft of economic policies...

  3. VP

    The reason for those huge boxes is so simple

    If you start with outrageous packaging habits, it is so very easy to cut back 10% and still have the biggest boxes in the world. And win awards for your heroic battle to save the world...

    While those who have sent their licence keys in e-mails for years and keep doing so will be punished for not doing anything for the environment.

    Cynical? Me?

  4. Bassey

    I'm with Rob

    I think Amazon are concerned people may get that wee forest in South America mixed up with them and so are determined to wipe it out. I ordered a HP Deskjet from them and ordered a USB cable whilst I was at it. The box containing the printer was at least twice the size of the printer itself and had been padded with paper to stop the printer sliding about.

    However, rather than throwing the USB cable in with the printer (after all, there was loads of room) they put the cable in a box THE SAME SIZE AS THE OTHER ONE!!! This, too, was then padded with paper to stop the cable rattling around.

    I wouldn't mind so much but we only get our rubbish collected every fortnight. Between the two boxes and all that paper we half filled our wheelie bin!

  5. The Badger

    Petrol Taxes

    Of course, all this driving around in vans, dropping stuff off all over the place (headless chicken logistics) like it's a rounding error in the cost of the whole affair, could be curtailed somewhat by making the price of petrol reflect the cost a bit more accurately (especially the long-term cost). But then there'd be squealing from "the business lobby" and Jeremy Clarkson because people would have to get their shit together, and that's the last thing these people want to have to do.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    My experience with Dell warranty support...

    Had an issue with a laptop and while I was on the phone, decided to see if I could get 3 extra sets of rubber feet for our Dell machines, as they shed them like crazy. After (I thought) competently explaining what I needed, I hung up the phone. The next day, I receive three keyboard-sized boxes via overnight freight. I open the first box, and amidst much packing material is... ONE rubber foot, perfectly centered in the box. I open the second box and it contains ONE rubber foot, also perfectly centered. Sensing a pattern developing, I open the third box. Does it contain another rubber foot? No, this box contains a small philips screwdriver and nothing else. I have to admit that the bizarreness of it made my day. The situation was resolved with Dell on the phone the next day.

    A month later, I receive a message from a Dell rep asking why I haven't returned the defective parts (rubber feet!)---they'd included a pre-paid return label with the shipment.

  7. Mountford D
    Gates Halo

    You forgot Microsoft

    It was a few years ago I hasten to say and I haven't got any photographic evidence, but when I placed an order for an evaluation pack from Microsoft, a parcel duly arrived by courier the very next day. Fantastic, I thought as I rummaged through the air-bubble packing, and arrived at a glossy cardboard box, and within that was a sturdy plastic case with an even glossier label and so on. I was getting quite excited by this time but the disappointment was devastating when the case contained all but a credit-card sized piece of the same glossy, plasticised card, in its own moulded compartment, giving me a phone number to call to complete my order for the evaluation pack.

    This subsequently arrived a couple of weeks later, by courier, in a dirty cardboard box but it was packed to the brim with CDs. In a way I guess the blandness of the second delivery made up for the unnecessary packaging of the first and kept the courier in business. Well done Microsoft.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    I often order electronic components from them; (Farnell) and have know boxes (printer sized) to arrive with bubble wrap... containing two boxes; each containing 150 1kOhm resistors. Another example: 20x20x50cm box containing.... a spray can. And each is UPS express delivered across europe and considerable (non-negiotiable) price.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    HP iLO Advanced Pack

    This one was always a corker. This was a licence key in a DVD case, frequently sent in a cardboard box with bubble wrap.

    So, for something that could be emailed, or posted in an envelope (if you trust our honest postal system.....), you were getting loads of packaging with practically nothing in it.

    Paris? Well, HP backwards for one, and she'd know how to receive a package in her mailbox....

  10. Henry Wertz Gold badge
    Paris Hilton


    Well, I can't really complain too badly about the memory. Maybe one center only had one stick? They could have either made the person wait, while they moved RAM from one center to the other anyway (i.e. not saving any actual fuel), or ship the two seperately. It is a little funny that the delivery people at the end didn't put them on the same truck.. they make real sure to do that here to save truck mileage and time (since "time is money").

    These others, they are a little silly I must admit.. especially the boxes with one rubber foot apiece.

    Paris, she is quite puzzled by these packages I'm sure.

  11. J


    My cat loves these environment busting practices. More boxes and sheets of plastic for him to play in, y'know.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    your all looking at this the wrong way..

    Its not big boxes for small items, its new shelters for the homeless. I think HP are very forward thinking looking after the safety of the parts and the welfare of the needy at the same.

    Have you also noticed that some of the sleeved bubble wrapped packaging just happen to be hand size? Perfect as gloves for those cold London nights.

    Hilton just because she's a tramp

  13. Andrew

    HP Monitor Return

    We recently received a new monitor from HP in a nice shiny well packaged box. We also received a second completely empty box (at a cost of £20 mind you) which contained just more packing, just in case we ever wanted to send the monitor back to HP. I can tell you we were all very amused in our office. Why the box the monitor came in wasn't up to the high standards of HP for returns i'll never know. Quite obviously they knew their monitor was crap in the first place and everyone who bought one would immediately want to send it back!! Apparently though, if we send the empty box back, we can get our money back (I can just hear the van miles piling up on the M6 now!)

  14. Tom Paine

    Distribution Containment OEM Professional here

    (...yes, I worked in a cardboard box factory as a student summer job in the late 80s.) Handy tip: cardboard packaging arrives at the packee's establishment as flat sheets of board, optionally folded over once and secured with a line of stout steel staples down the seam in the case of really huge boxes for e.g. 42" plasma tellys. (One perk of that job - as many cardboard boxes as you could strap to the roofrack of your Lada! I still have an incredibly sturdy 80cm^3 box bearing the once-proud legend "Sony Black Trinitron 21"; with a sheet of blockboard laid over the open top it makes an ideal coffee table in my stylish contemporary lounge/diner/bed/sit/study. ) Anyway, what starts out flat can usually be easily and quickly returned to that state by reversing the erection process... simply pop Tab A *out* of Slot B, rotate box, rinse and repeat until the reciprocal origami process produces - voila! - a nice flat sheet of board. This then slides comfortably into your metabox of flattened cardboard ready for recycling. It does bugger all good for the environment, but it stops the damn kids whining at you.

  15. Stephen


    the idea of saving the van miles is a bit flawed...

    shipping companies are always trying to shave time and fuel, given the chance they will do so.

    i imagine that sending a van out of it's normal area to pick up the second stick would of actually cost more time and fuel, read: more money.

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