Packaging-Air Cushion Technology

January 24, 2010

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I understand that Dell is using air cusion technolgy in Europe for protecting their product during shipping.

I think that Dell should consider this for all of its protective packaging applications whenever and wherever possible.

In 2009 the market was flooded by new films used in air cushion technology which claimed to be made of a biodegradable material. 2 types mainly: starch based similiar to corn starch packing peanuts and the other contained an additive that attracts micro-organisms which would excellerate the breakdown of the material.

The problem with this is that in order for biodegradation to occur certain environmental factors must be present such as air, light, and moisture.

So we now uncover the dilemma......landfills do not sustain these factors. Hundred year old newspapers remain intact and fully readable when uncovered........and if a newspaper does not breakdown under the conditions of a landfill, then most certainly any film labeled biodegradable will not break down either.

Though I find it irritating that the marketing of air cusion technolgy can be at time misleading, it is still the more appropriate product in comparision to other materials when working towards environmental stewardship.

I make a case for using air cusioning technology versus any other packing material based on these points:
Re-use, Reduce, and Recycle.

Reduce- Air technology will reduce the amount of material used in packing. Why? Air does not mass in a landfill. Paper, peanuts, foam, and other material do.

Reuse- People are more apt to reuse an air product than any other because it is cleaner than paper and isn't messy like peanuts.

Recycle- There are brands of air cushions available that use a very high content of recycled or reclaimed resins.

I am curious as to what others think about this topic and encourage feedback.