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Chemistry, Materials & Packaging
HP's New Packaging Partnership Aims to Turn Straw Into Savings

Hewlett-Packard has teamed up with global packaging company YFY Jupiter for a new initiative that will use straw waste to create packaging material for its products. The program will create multifold benefits for HP — reduced costs, better protection for its products and reduced long-term environmental impacts to cite a few.

YFY Jupiter, the creators of Npulp, use straw waste from Chinese farms to manufacture corrugated cardboard and molded pulp packaging. According to Linda Chau, Director of Packaging & Media for HP Central Direct Procurement & Services, the process to create this packaging uses up to 40 percent less energy, 90 percent less water, emits 25 percent less CO2 than traditional methods and helps reduce the Company's supply chain footprint. Moreover, since the packaging is lighter than wood-based molded pulp, it will cost less to ship. The stiffer fibers make it stronger and more humidity resistant, thereby offering better protection for products during transportation. The Chinese farmers who were hitherto burning the straw to make way for the next harvest now see it as a cash crop. Chau adds that the initiative has also created 383 new jobs at YFYs China facility, thereby contributing to economic growth.

The sustainable packaging market is predicted to hit a whopping $244 billion by 2018. This new initiative is part of HP’s Supply Chain Social and Environmental Responsibility program. Last year the company reduced packaging for its consumer and commercial notebooks and pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 as compared to 2010 levels. While HP is the first company to market with this new packaging solution, it is not the first to upcycle straw waste — Woody Harrelson’s company Prairie Paper Ventures, tissue giant Kimberly-Clark and several Canadian book and magazine publishers are turning to straw paper to reduce the impact of their products on virgin forests.

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