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[GreenYes] FW: [mnkids] Purchasing Magazine: The battle rages over use of PVC clamshells





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Microsoft attorney, Joan Krajewski, " estimates its replacement of
PVC packaging with corrugated cardboard and recyclable plastic packaging
will remove more than 800,000 lbs from landfills annually."

Submitted by David Wallinga, MD

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Purchasing Magazine - http://www.purchasing.com/article/CA6305337.html


The battle rages over use of PVC clamshells
Staff -- 2/16/2006


The marketplace wars persist over health risks-real or perceived-from
plastic packaging made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resins. But this
much is true: Microsoft just stopped using PVC clamshell packs to
protect new copies of its software products and several other
manufacturers are following suit.

Hewlett-Packard recently removed the plastic from all external case
parts and says it will eliminate remaining uses of PVC "as safer
alternatives are available." Personal computer makers Apple, Dell, Sony,
Sharp and Samsung have begun turning to packaging alternatives. Wal-Mart
announced last October it will phase out PVC in its private label
packaging over the next two years. Also, Johnson and Johnson has set a
goal to eliminate PVC in primary packaging, and is actively engaged with
suppliers to identify alternatives.

Lois Gibbs, executive director of the Falls Church, Va.-based Center for
Health, Environment and Justice, says PVC packaging "is dangerous
throughout its entire lifecycle of production, use and disposal" because
the petrochemicals that make the plastic soft and pliable also have
cancer-causing toxins. Greenpeace International also is active in the
anti-PVC battle, complaining about the use of the resin in computers,
printers and other electronics.

The anti-PVC movement is several decades old and most of the
environmental arguments have been disputed for years by the Vinyl
Institute. "PVC has been used in products for decades without any
evidence of harm to human health," according to the Arlington, Va.-based
trade group. In fact, more than 16 billion pounds valued in excess of $6
billion are produced and sold annually in North America.

Still, Joan Krajewski, environmental attorney for Microsoft, says the
Redmond, Wash., software company estimates its replacement of PVC
packaging with corrugated cardboard and recyclable plastic packaging
will remove more than 800,000 lbs from landfills annually. And, one of
the key issues among some users of PVC with environmental concerns isn't
the resin itself, but their fear that additives and plasticizers can
leach out of certain vinyl products in landfills or into the air during
incineration.

Microsoft actually began working to eliminate PVC from protective
clamshell packaging in 2003, says Jay Watts, senior manager of the
package engineering management team. "As part of the project, we were
able to eliminate clamshells altogether-not just the PVC but the
clamshell itself-from 60-70% of our packaging, so no substitution was
needed at all," he says. Those clamshells made of plastic still in use
now are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), he says, "and 25% of
that resin is recycled material."

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