Sustainability has been a fundamental focus already from the design phase of our products. The hardware products are built to last 5-10+ years, they are energy efficient and the units are easy to repair and recycle in the unlikely event that it would need to happen. With that said, we continue to ask ourselves what more can we do?
To build and distribute our products in a more sustainable way we review the complete supply chain and try to innovate where it can have a positive impact.
There is more than the actual product. Our first goal was to reduce the amount of plastic in the package. Through conversations with our supply chain we were able to replace plastic foam with moulded paper pulp to support the units stacked tight and secure in the bulk pack. What we did better was to invest in time spent with our suppliers to make them understand why we wanted to be different. Because of this approach we inspired our suppliers to offer similar solutions to many of their other customers that are now basing some of their decisions with better design choices in mind.
In the Humly Room Display unpacking video as you will see below, a thin plastic bag can be spotted, that is because we need to protect the screen... The fibers in the paper pulp mold could leave marks during transportation hence we were unfortunately not able to remove all plastic in the packaging. However, to minimize plastic yet make sure the screen is protected, the solution was to reuse both the static plastic film and the bag that the display glass arrives with before system assembly at the factory.
We also introduced bulk packs to reduce the amount of package material needed and to fit more devices on a pallet. No rocket science, but by changing our initial packing design to fit 6 units instead of 5 we are able to pack almost 40% more devices on a standard pallet!
See the unboxing of our 6 unit bulk pack opening above. Compared to individual units the size is almost half, and the time it takes to unpack is just a fraction compared to opening individual boxes. In addition to the environmental benefits from using less and more sustainable material it is also easy to see how this speeds up unpacking and reduces the recycling effort at the point of installation. Imagine an office space where we install 120 units - 20 Humly bulk packs to open and where packing material is stackable and easy to take to recycling instead of 120 ordinary single unit gift boxes.
Another way we reduce waste is to only include exactly what is necessary for the installation. No power supply will be shipped for Power-over-Ethernet installations and glass mount light reflectors is only added for actual glass wall installations.
We want to share our experience and hopefully inspire others, in the same way as others have inspired us. We want to experiment more and get the industry to choose sustainable design, production and distribution. Our work will continue and we are interested in what others are doing so we can continue to improve.
How are you working with sustainability? Leave a comment!