Rather than fire people, Dell will reduce packaging costs

Dell hopes to save $8.1 million over the next four years by making changes to the materials used in packing and shipping its PCs. The new packaging will be formed from recycled milk and detergent containers, among other things.

Today, Dell announced plans to trim its costs over the next four years by cutting out 20 million pounds of its customary computer packaging materials.

Now claiming to be the only major computer maker with a "global packaging reduction target" for desktops and laptops, Dell expects to reduce packaging materials by 10% worldwide, increase "sustainable content" in cushioning and corrugate packaging by 40%, and make 75% of its packaging components "curbside recyclable" by 2012.

Dell's new packing materials will include High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) "thermo-foamed cushions." HDPE is produced from recycled milk jugs and laundry detergent bottles, for example, the company said in a statement.

In changing its packaging ways, Dell plans to save $8.1 million over the next four years -- savings that could potentially be put to any number of purposes, including avoiding job layoffs.

Meanwhile, though, the PC maker also seems to hitting a growing sweet spot with both business and consumer customers.

In survey results rolled out this fall at CES Unveiled New York, the Consumer Electronics Association reported rising interest among consumers in a lot of different aspects of green computing, ranging from energy-saving devices to recyclable packaging.

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