Material & Resource Use
Product packaging touches many business functions. That’s why EMC’s Sustainable Packaging working group includes representatives from the Engineering, Supply Chain, Purchasing, Manufacturing, Logistics, and Global Facilities organizations. Together, we work to maximize environmental benefits across the package lifespan. Our scope includes inbound packaging from our suppliers, packaging used to transport products between EMC facilities, and outbound packaging to our customers. We collaborate to identify opportunities, generate ideas, and implement projects that reduce the direct and indirect impacts from product packaging. Our strategy focuses on two key areas: Design and Use.
The size and weight of EMC’s packaging impacts material consumption, GHG emissions related to transport and costs. Because of the high volumes of material we ship through our inbound, interplant and outbound value chains, seemingly small adjustments in the makeup of packaging can have significant results. At the same time, it is crucial that we maintain product protection as the overriding purpose of packaging; the environmental impacts of replacing damaged product would outweigh the benefits of marginally improved packaging.
The practice of balancing these objectives is called “right-sizing”. For example, in 2011 our Logistics organization worked with a supplier to modify the packaging used to ship product to us. By putting more products into smaller, yet fully protective packages, we avoided 4,450 tonnes of GHG emissions and saved more than $2 million in transport costs annually.
We also incorporate as much renewable, recycled, and recyclable material as possible in our own packaging designs. In 2011, the materials in EMC’s hardware outbound packaging were:
- 15% recycled (post-consumer content, excluding re-use of EMC returnable packaging)
- 85% renewable (derived from biological sources and biodegradable)
- 99% recyclable
NOTE: Data does not include Iomega, RSA, Data Domain, Greenplum or Isilon products.
In 2011, we introduced bamboo fiber cushioning for disk drives, replacing polyethylene foam. The bamboo fiber material is not only renewable, it is also compostable to ASTM, BPI, and EN 13432 standards. We also have a partnership with a waste management provider and a packaging supplier to recycle our corrugated cardboard and re-use that material in new EMC packaging.
Our packaging is free of polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs) and polystyrenes, and we have eliminated the use of polyurethane in all new packages. Our shipping pallet suppliers purchase the majority of their wood from sources certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Initiative. We treat the wood to ISPM 15 standards, which prevents pest infestations without using harsh chemicals.
We are building out our returnable packaging program, and work with customers and suppliers to recapture and reuse as much of these packages as possible. In 2011, all of our storage cabinets in the U.S., and some in Brazil, were shipped to customers in reusable packaging, eliminating two million pounds of waste and $1 million in costs. To encourage the use of these packages to their full potential, we provide customers with a brochure containing all of the information needed for them to return the packaging easily. To learn more, review the “EMC Packaging Return Program” brochure for more information.
The Take - Breaking New Ground: Innovations in Packaging