Reduced packaging in IT

I've talked about this before, and I'm sure I'll do it again. We do need to reduce some of the excessive packaging on the things we get. I can completely understand the need to swaddle a $57,000 storage controller in enough packaging to survive a 3 meter drop. What I don't understand is shipping the 24 hard drives that go with that storage controller in individual boxes. It wouldn't take much engineering to come up with a 6-pack foam holder for hard-drives. It would seriously reduce bulk, which makes it easier and cheaper to ship, and there is less material used in the whole process. But I guess that extra SKU is too much effort.

Today I turned this:

Into this:


The big box at the top of the stack contained 24 individual hard-drive boxes. Each box had:
  • 1 hard-drive.
  • 1 anti-static bag requiring a knife to open.
  • 2 foam end-pieces to hold the drive in place in the box.
  • 1 piece of paper of some kind, white.
  • 1 cardboard box, requiring a knife to open.
When I was done slotting all of those in, I had a large pile of cardboard boxes, a big jumble of green foam bits, a slippery pile of anti-static bags, and a neat pile of paper. The paper and cardboard can easily be recycled. The anti-static bags and foam bits... not so much. Although, the foam bits were marked type 4 plastic (LDPE), which means they were possibly made from recyclable materials, right?


I'd still like to use less of it.


My 1U HP machine came is 7 boxes last week. It's also wasteful of my time with their tiny torx screws, imagine if I had ordered a whole rack full.

1 x Chassis
1 x Memory
1 x SAS backplane
4 x 1 TB Disk

HP seems to be the worst offender for this. The Register ( has often highlighted their waste - go to the site and search for "Aboxalypse now". My favorite still remains the single mouse shipped on a pallet.

And I thought it was bad when Cisco packed the box (with foam insert) inside a box for a single router. And then separately, they packed another envelope inside a box inside another box, containing the very small flash RAM upgrade. Both items included CDROMs which where thankfully, packed inside the first box.

It was like those little Russian dolls, really. The Real Prize was deep inside!

I totally agree with you, there are some companies that just take excessive packaging to a new level. I notice this almost every time I order something from Staples. I'll order some small office equipment like staples and pens, and they'll come in a way-too-large box with packing peanuts and bubble wrap. So wasteful! -josh