Monday, January 25, 2010

Five Badly Overpackaged Tech Products

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For many of those who make modifications to their lifestyles to create a cleaner world in the days to years to come, choosing products with less packaging is one of the most important steps to decreasing the amount of waste going to landfills.  Many technology products however still come with more packaging that there needs to be.  Here's five products that technology companies still put into packages that are way too much.

1. iPod, Shuffle, Nano, and Touch: Look at the displays of portable media players in retail stores, and the shiny iPods in their plastic boxes are sure to leap out.  For every pair of Apple's iconic white earbuds seen just about everywhere there is a plastic box that once held that iPod sitting in a landfill somewhere.  The first generations of iPods came in a cardboard box.  Going to the clear plastic box to house iPods during their journey from the factory to the customers' hands was just to make the iPods look pretty on retail store shelves it serves no other useful purpose.

2. Cardboard DVD/BluRay Sleeves:  More often or not buying the latest movies on DVD or BluRay comes with a piece of packaging that serves no purpose and becomes waste just as fast as the shrink wrap comes off.  Many movie DVD's and BluRay discs come with a cardboard sleeve over the plastic protective case for the disc.  The graphics on cardboard sleeve are identical to the graphic on the insert sheet in the case and completely unnecessary.

3.  Microsoft Xbox Live subscription and points cards:  Players on Microsoft's Xbox Live online service need to pay to play online and pay for points to download add-ons for games such as extra levels.  Both the subscriptions and points are sold on plastic cards with codes on them which are redeemed online.  Buying the cards in electronics stores and in specialty video game stores the cards come attached to a cardboard backer card and the whole thing comes in a plastic blister pack.  Xbox live cards sold at convenience stores come without the blister pack, this at least gives consumers the opportunity to choose not to buy unneeded packaging.

4.  Microsoft Windows & Office:  Recent version of both Windows and office have come in hard plastic cases where retail packages for Windows and Office in the past was just a cardboard box.  While other software publishers have reduced the size of the boxes that their software is packaged in, Microsoft has made a similar reduction but has made an unneeded switch from cardboard to plastic. 

5. Printer ink cartridges:  The ink cartridges for most printers come in a sealed bag in a cardboard box.  Isn't it possible that the sealed bag could become the retail package and skip the cardboard box entirely?  It has been worse though, some ink cartridges also had a plastic blister pack to hold the cardboard box that holds the sealed plastic bag.  While it is encouraging to see those blister packs gone the cardboard boxes should go too.

For more information on decreasing the impact on the environment while using and enjoying technology check out the 25 Things Geeks Can Do To Go Green

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