Claudia Girrbach, an IT specialist at The Gap, is a member of the company's EcoCouncil as well as a noted Green IT blogger. In a recent article for, she lays out a thoughtful plan for making your organization's IT greener simply by paying more attention to the packaging of all the gear you order. "In my work in the IT department, I am constantly frustrated with the wasteful product packaging we receive from our IT equipment vendors," she writes. One example: software licenses that come in a cardboard envelope wrapped in bubble wrap inside a box.

Green ITGirrbach's three-point plan for green packaging best practices:

  1. Eliminate unneeded items from the shipment: Suppliers should deliver all items virtually wherever possible. Progress in eliminating paper documentation from IT vendors is inconsistent at best, but customer demands for electronic paperwork will make progress possible.
  2. Right-size packaging: Oftentimes each component is in its own package, which causes packaging to expand dramatically. Consolidating items and shipments will reduce total amount of packaging.
  3. Sustainable packaging: The first step to more sustainable packaging is simple: You must eliminate all packaging that cannot be recycled. After that, making boxes and other packaging materials easier to break down will support recycling by reducing labor.

Girrbach tells us more about how vendors and IT buyers can together work cut the waste out of packaging and shipping. The payoff? When less waste arrives at your door, you'll save money on labor, storage, and waste disposal.

-- Don Willmott