HP's print cartridge packaging goes green

Company says smaller, lighter packaging will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37 million pounds this year.

Hewlett-Packard announced on Thursday that it has redesigned the packaging for its printer cartridges to make it friendlier to the environment.

The redesigns feature smaller and lighter packaging that contains more recycled content. These changes, according to HP, will cut down on 15 million pounds of materials over the course of 2007, including 6.8 million pounds of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic.

Overall, the company estimated that it will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37 million pounds. Because shipping containers will be able to accommodate many more packages, truck traffic for cartridge shipments is expected to be cut down by 1.5 million miles this year. Company calculations indicated that is the equivalent impact of 3,600 cars operating over the same period.

For example, HP LaserJet toner cartridges now use 45 percent of the packaging material that they once did, and a shipping container can now accommodate an average of 203 of them instead of 144. The reduced container size not only cuts down on the number of emission-producing vehicles needed to ship the cartridges to retailers, it also frees up more shelf space for retailers.

HP, which entered an initiative with the World Wildlife Fund in November to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, added in a statement that this is by no means the first step the company has taken toward tweaking its product packaging with environmental sustainability in mind. The overall package weight for its inkjet cartridge multipacks, for example, has been reduced by 80 percent since 2003.

Thus far, the eco-friendly redesigns apply only to ink and toner print cartridges shipped throughout North America.

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