Dell’s Three C’s of Sustainable Packaging

Dell’s focus on sustainability has established the electronics giant as a leader in the green movement. Back in December of 2008, Dell announced a plan to transform computer packaging by adding recycled content (32%). By 2012, Dell hopes to achieve its goal of increasing the recycled content in its packaging by 40%. To do this, the company is implementing a strategy based on three C’s: Cube, Content, and Curbside.

Reducing the size of product packaging so it is more efficient, from the size of the boxes that hold product components to the number of items that can be moved per shipping pallet. In one example, Dell optimized the packaging for its Inspiron laptop so that the number of computers per pallet increased from 54 to 63.

As previously stated, Dell is ramping up the amount of recycled contents that go into their packaging. For heavier products that require sturdier support, the company has increased the use of recycled foam versus using virgin product. Dell has also increased the use of post-consumer recycled plastics, integrating the equivalent of more than 9.5 million half-gallon milk jugs into its packaging.

Also, Dell has been using bamboo as a strong and compostable alternative to the molded paper pulp, foams, and corrugated cardboard often used in packaging.

Ensuring that their packaging is curbside recyclable is that last piece of Dell’s green packaging strategy. Dell increasingly chooses materials that can be tossed in the recycling bin such as post-consumer plastics and molded paper pulp.

Bamboo is still not accepted by many municipal recyclers for curbside pickup however, Dell is working with Georgia Pacific, Unisource Global Services, and Environmental Packaging International in an effort to certify its bamboo packaging for recycling.

Dell outlines the three C’s strategy in their 2010 Corporate Responsibility Summary Report (PDF)

Library Opens Learning Commons

The Randall Library at the University of North Carolina Wilmington is taking an innovative approach to being a valuable resource for students in the digital age. They recently introduced their “Learning commons“, a designated area in the library that encourages technology-based research and takes the “shhh” out of the traditional library setting.

When walking through the main entrance, it’s easy to identify the learning commons. The area is freshly painted with bright colors and modern cubicles that feature desktop or laptop stations. The room also has a help desk that is staffed 65 hours per week by reference librarians and staff who work in technical assistance.

Students are encouraged to come in groups, plug in their computers, iPods, or other tech devices, and learn about technology. While the entire 2nd floor of the Randall library is reserved for peace and quiet, study groups in the learning commons can talk freely without fear of a staff member shushing them. Students also like the space that the room provides so they can still have their privacy.

Before the makeover, the space was outdated but the new learning commons now boast more than 300 power outlets and 91 computers catering to the digital age that some libraries are having a tough time adjusting to. Students can also check out 50 PC laptops and 14 Mac laptops.

It is no coincidence that students are giving good feedback about the learning commons. The project began as a series of surveys asking students what they wanted and needed out of a library studying area. Listening has been the true key to success. The concept is ongoing too. Collaborating with the students will not stop as the feedback from the students will help evolve the learning commons in the future. The area is designed to change with technology and student’s needs.

Blu-ray Drive Powered by USB

Plextor, pioneers of reliable CD, DVD and digital video solutions recently unveiled their newest Blu-ray drive, the PX-B120U. The beauty of this drive? It’s USB powered and plugs right into your computer. This is a huge advantage for Blu-ray enthusiasts on the go, not having to carry around an additional AC cable. The brand new Blu-ray device can not only read Blu-ray discs but it also acts as a CD or DVD disc burner. The downfall is that it doesn’t burn Blu-ray discs- just plays them.

The PX-B120U Blu-ray drive can also be converted to a living room player by hooking it up to the PlexMedia player.

Sunrise Packaging offers great prices on Blu-ray media cases.

USB Typewriter?

There are some things I just don’t understand. Take the new USB Typewriter for example. After spending around $500 for the hottest tech device in the world- the iPad, you can add a touch of ancient customization for $400-500. But why?

The USB Typewriter is just like it sounds. A portable typewriter that plugs into your USB drive to give your word processing the look and feel of obsolescence- not to mention your fancy new devices. Note: the typewriter can be used with any PC or Mac as well. Made by a fellow named Jack Zylkin, you can buy the USB Typewriter pre-made, in a kit, or send him your own typewriter and he’ll customize it.

I sort of understand the charm but isn’t the point of having an iPad or a laptop for convenience? This does not seem very pleasant to have to haul around. Plus, how many words can you type a minute on a typewriter? Isn’t that partly why they’re obsolete? I understand novelties in life, but the price of this doodad threw me for a loop. Somebody tell me what I’m missing.

Public Libraries, Not Just for Books!

Recently the New York Public Library announced that they have opened another facility for wireless internet access in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room.

The Edna Barnes Salomon room is by far the most elegant.  You can bring your own wireless enabled laptop and some branches even have laptops available to borrow.

Public Libraries Offer Wireless Internet

All Chicago Public Library Branches have free wireless internet access available for use.  In California, both the Los Angeles Public Library and the San Francisco library offer free wi-fi.

Here in the heartland, all branches of the Minneapolis & Hennepin Public Libraries and Saint Paul Public Library offers free wireless internet access at all locations.

So no matter where you go take your laptop to the public library to surf the internet, check your e-mail, and stay in touch for free!