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In the last two weeks I got three packaging that made me thing the way products are packaged, and how with a little bit of care, industries could make lower impact on environment

The Facts

HP printer cartridge

Today I bought a cartridge for my HP printer, and I was positively surprised by how much HP cares about recycling.

The package is all cardboard, plus a thin aluminum wrap around the cartridge itself, and enclosed in the box there is a prepaid and self-addressed envelope where I can put the old cartridge in and sent it back to HP for recycling.

cardridge_packaging.JPG cardridge_evenlope.JPG

Microsoft Points prepaid card

Then I received an XBox Live points card: it's a plastic, credit card sized, enclosed in a plastic box like the ones used for DVDs, with a plastic cover, and all wrapped in thin plastic foil. All this plastic for just a 25 digit code.

microsoft_points_cover.JPG microsoft_points.JPG

Chinese Brand SD

Still, not as bad as the packaging for a chinese brand SD card I bought last week: a big thick plastic enclosure with a strange screw cover.

More plastic packaging than the Dell 27" Display I bought last month.

Who is the winner?

Obviously HP is the winner: only cardboard and a pre-paid envelope to make you want to recycle the used cartridge.

Then, far behind is Microsoft: a lot of plastic (even if it seems to be recyclable plastic) just for a digit. Couldn't have they just sold the card with the printed digits in small warp? Like all the mobile phone prepaid card? This would reduce production costs, recycling costs and environmental costs.

And far far far behind, is the chinese brand SD card, with no recyclable packaging. Big FAIL!!

posted on Wednesday, August 5, 2009 12:43 PM

Comments on this entry:

# re: Microsoft vs HP: different approaches to recycling

Left by Justin Etheredge at 8/5/2009 1:49 PM

I think that the HP packaging is unfortunately driven by selfish motives. If they get you to "recycle" the printer cartridge, then they get to refill it and resell it without manufacturing a new one. With Microsoft's product there is no advantage to doing this, but I agree that they need to cut back on the plastic for a stupid card.

As far as that SD card goes, wow, that is just ridiculous. You'd think a product coming out of China, with all of the environmental problems they have, would be a little more friendly to the environment.

# re: Microsoft vs HP: different approaches to recycling

Left by admin at 8/5/2009 3:07 PM

@Justin: it might be driven by selfish reasons (even tho the cardboard box is not), but if they both reduce costs and produce less waste, it's a win-win situation.

About the XBox Points: one more reason to buy them online instead of going to a videogame shop :)

# re: Microsoft vs HP: different approaches to recycling

Left by Chris Pietschmann at 8/5/2009 5:41 PM

None of them understand. How many people still throw away the old ink cartridge AND self-addressed envelope? So much for recycling. Plus do they really need to use THAT much cardboard?

# re: Microsoft vs HP: different approaches to recycling

Left by admin at 8/5/2009 5:44 PM

Well... much better to have cardboard than tons of not recyclable plastic :)

# re: Microsoft vs HP: different approaches to recycling

Left by Daniel Hölbling at 8/5/2009 6:00 PM

I guess the difference here is the consumer-focus of Microsoft's product while HP is a already sold product.

You already own a HP Printer that will only eat those cartridges, and you are obviously out of ink. So if they'd pack it in Newspaper you'd still buy it because you need it.

MS Points on the other hand are (although you already own a XBox) more of a optional buy, so when you go out to spend XX € on it you want to get something appealing from it. Since it's a purely virtual commodity you are buying at least the packaging must give you some sort of satisfaction in-store.

greetings Daniel

# re: Microsoft vs HP: different approaches to recycling

Left by LorenzoC at 8/6/2009 8:20 AM

We live in a strange world.
We are concerned about recycling and pollution but as soon as the automotive industry sells less cars the State gives them any sort of incentives to increase the sales.

In Italy we have about 30 million cars circulating that is about 1 car on 1,5 people.
Here is a link:

# re: Microsoft vs HP: different approaches to recycling

Left by Nelsona at 8/7/2009 3:42 PM

HP are not always that great:

Comments have been closed on this topic.