We welcome Earth Day 2022. It’s been 52 years since the first Earth Day celebration, which helped kick off the environmental movement in the spring of 1970. Man had just landed on the moon the previous year, a trip that yielded an indelible image from space of a fragile planet rich with vibrant colors.
This year’s theme for the global event is “invest in our planet.” We think that’s a particularly appropriate message, since Onepak has been on a years-long journey to invest in more sustainable practices for the reverse logistics of IT assets.
Onepak got its name from providing custom-fitted shipping packages for IT equipment returns. But we’ve never stopped innovating, always trying to make our products and services more environmentally friendly and thus becoming a better partner in the emerging circular economy.
Onepak has spent the last year embarked on an internal R&D project designed to provide our clients with what may just be the first carbon-neutral reusable shipping kits on the market. We look forward to soon sharing the news of our prototype, which will be piloted with a handful of clients. In addition to substantial reductions in emissions, we expect some level of cost savings as well.
We’re initially focusing on laptop kits, because laptops comprise at least half of all IT asset returns. Next, we expect to turn our attention to reusable shipping kits for mobile phone return programs. The win-win is that we are steadily moving away from the use of cardboard and purchasing carbon offsets for production of the recycled paper-based material we do use.
These breakthroughs couldn’t come at a better time. Last year, global sales of laptop computers were at record highs, dwarfing the numbers recorded before the pandemic. This volume—more than a quarter billion units sold worldwide—is expected to continue over the next several years. Given the rise of remote work, many of these units will eventually be returned one at a time.
At the same time, the explosion of e-commerce is causing both supply shortages and price spikes for cardboard. Happily, we’re reducing our cardboard and recycling needs and focusing more on re-use.
The whole point of these innovations in return logistics is to make the ownership and deployment of IT assets more efficient and cost-effective, and to ensure that used equipment doesn’t linger in a closet or drawer at the end of its useful life, or even worse, get tossed into a landfill.
Our fragile planet deserves better.