Lots of cardboard – no polystyrene

On the left here, my newly acquired Dyson Graven Image …:

… and on the right, a look, in particular, at the packaging it came in.

I note with interest the complete absence of expanded polystyrene. All the packaging was done with cardboard, often manipulated into extraordinarily elaborate shapes.

Why would this be? I tried googling for an answer, and got lots of stuff about how to buy cardboard packaging, but found nothing about why polystyrene is now out of favour. Are there new regulations, caused by the anti-plastic obsession? (The Pacific Ocean with its fifty miles across patch of floating plastic waste, blah blah, etc. etc..) Is it just that a right-on company like Dyson chooses to bow to such notions?

Or, are their real economic reasons to prefer cardboard for a job like this? Have they, for instance, recently managed to contrive machines which can automatically, and hence cheaply, create elaborate cardboard packaging like this, the way they couldn’t only a few years ago? Has polystyrene become more expensive, for some reason? Has cardboard itself got cheaper? Does cardboard mean that the packaging doesn’t have to be quite so big, thus cutting warehouse costs?

Anyone? Comments are very welcome, as they always are, but especially, in this case, if they in any way answer my questions.

3 thoughts on “Lots of cardboard – no polystyrene”

  1. I think this is a false dichotomy. The environmental issues of polystyrene are not trivial and are quite multifaceted – see the environmental issues section of the Wikipedia article on polystyrene, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystyrene?wprov=sfla1.

    And Dyson’s approach to improving the environmental impacts of their business is intelligent and authentic not “bowing” to “obsessions” or “notions”. It is based on the principle that good design simultaneously reduces business costs and negative environmental externalities as well as improving product quality. See the sustainability section of their website:


    They don’t mention polystyrene explicitly but removing it from their packaging is entirely consistent with the philosophy they describe.

    Until not very long ago many, I suspect a majority, of companies only addressed environmental issues to the extent the law required or financially incentivised them to. A small minority dealt with them for idealistic reasons or to appeal to an idealistic customer niche. Increasingly in the last few years the staff and leaders of many larger companies have become convinced of the reality and seriousness of environmental issues and decided they have a responsibility as groups of individuals working together to address them independently of government requirements. Libertarians should welcome this.

    Many of these companies adopt what some have called a Bright Green approach. This view says that environmental issues can, should and indeed only will be solved through the application of improved technology due to the immorality and political impossibility of dismantling modern industrial society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bright_green_environmentalism?wprov=sfla1

    This is also part of the broader Business Purpose movement which I feel is starting to gain real traction. An excellent book on this has just been published by Alex Edmans, Professor of Finance at London Business School. See my review on LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/please-read-book-recommend-others-alastair-james

  2. Alastair
    Sorry this took so long to approve. (Lots of links is what WordPress is suspicious of.) Plus there’s currently a glitch in the system telling me about incoming comments.

  3. I suspect it’s more of a trash disposal issue. In the Portland area, it costs money to have your trash hauled away, but recycling is picked up for free. Styrofoam takes a lot of expensive space in your trash can. Cardboard goes in the much larger, free, recycling bin.

    On a side note, in Hillsboro (just outside of Portland) trash is picked up every week and recycling is picked up every other week. In Portland it’s reversed, Trash is picked up every other week while recycling is picked up every week.

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