I recently had the experience of working with a small company to put together First Article for a large customer. Now for those of you that may not know, a first article is an example of the product exactly as they will receive it when you start shipping your merchandize. The large customer had a lot of regulations on how things had to be put together, labeled, packaged. Much of instructions had to do with their green initiative.
Normally the product shipped in a cardboard box with no printing on it and a plain cardboard insert to hold the product. The small screws and cables went in a heat seal tube. The tube got sealed on one side, the products went in and the other side got sealed. Other than when you got to the end of the roll there was no waste. The Quick Install Guide was four pages long.
The Green Initiative
Every piece of packaging had to have a recycle logo on it. The box and its insert had to have two Recycle logos printed on it. Printing is not an environmentally friendly process. When a plastic heat seal tube with recycle logos couldn't be found, plastic zip-lock bags were purchased. The parts are slipped into the bags, the bags are heat sealed and about an inch of bag, including the zip lock, becomes waste. The User guide, after adding all the required legal text, was 16 pages long. In defense of the customer, most of the legal wording was because of government requirements.
It's not all bad news, circuit boards were changed to meet ROHS, (Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive) standards.
I am not advocating doing away with Green processes, I'm all for them. What I am saying is blindly following a Green Initiatives without seeing if it is truly helping the environment isn't Green at all.