GreenSmith Sessions #9: Dell’s Green Packaging Innovator, Oliver Campbell

I don’t know about you, but I hear about a lot of flashy green packaging innovations. But what about when reality hits the curb? Often, there’s a breakdown between the hype and what actually happens, which more often then not is nothing, as these greenovations don’t work in the existing system.

Not so with Dell, who as you’ll hear in the 9th installment of GreenSmith Sessions, has gone to extensive lengths to insure that its packaging, no matter how innovative, passes the curbside test. Bamboo, mushrooms, sugarcane bagasse, rice hulls and wheat chaff are all being investigated, with bamboo now having 2 years of successful market use in laptop packaging.

I learned a lot from the personable Oliver Campbell, Director of Packaging at Dell. Dell’s thinking around packaging goes by criteria that was generated as a result of conversations with their customers. 3C as they call it:

Cube – How can we make it smaller?
Content – What more sustainable materials can we use?
Curb – Can it be sustainably disposed of at the curbside?

Dell is both going through FTC certification and its own testing to be sure that bamboo packaging can compatibly enter the recycling stream. They’ve actually found that bamboo fiber can improve the quality of recycled paper! Though they’re waiting until FTC approval to be able to officially state this. Mushroom packaging can be mulched, or simply tossed in the green brush collection bin. Dell itself has a composter on site to process the prototype packaging they’re working on.

Dell innovates not for novelty’s sake, but for both environmental benefit and financial sense. Basically, how can they do a better job helping their customers be greener, while saving green of the monetary kind? It’s a wise way to conduct business,  for anybody.

Listen in to or save this GreenSmith Session here as we talk about Campbell’s uniquely appropriate background leading up to his current positon, Dell’s heroic product reclamation goals set in conjunction with the EPA, and fatherhood. You can also grab this podcast for later listening or subscribe to the whole GreenSmith Sessions series via iTunes.

If you have any questions for Oliver, or comments about practical green packaging innovation you’re coming across/working on, please share below.


Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, blogs weekly on green start ups of note at Triple Pundit and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations about, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media marketing.

Originally posted on and republished here with permission.


Carole R.
Carole R3 years ago

Good for Dell. Let's keep this ball rolling.

Guy Kimble
Guy Kimble6 years ago

Awesome! Now work on making computers greener!

Faith B.
Faith Billingham6 years ago

Interesting info, thanks for the article

K s Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Grace Adams
Grace Adams6 years ago

If Dell can save money by making their packaging greener, more power to them.

Janice S.
Janice S6 years ago

Good for Dell! I hope other companies will follow their example.

Mrs Shakespeare
Mrs Shakespeare6 years ago

Thats a seriously weird list of stuff to use, but if it means greener packages, then I'm glad someone has thought of it :D
Thanks, Dell for at least trying.

Chris Ray
Chris R6 years ago

Good for Dell. Thanks Paul!~