Saving the Box Your Apple Came In…and Other Weird Habits

Knowing I work on sustainable packaging issues, a friend recently mentioned the phenomenon of people saving their Apple packaging. Like, saving it FOR YEARS. Initially I dismissed the idea, but when I thought about the people I know who have Macs, I realized it’s an actual habit not seen in PC-users. My in-laws, who otherwise religiously get rid of everything, still have their Mac box. Even here at the office, we recently found a Mac box, tucked away in a little-used corner, from an employee who has been gone for years!

Full disclaimer–I am a happy PC user, though I do own several other Apple products. But I can attest to the fact that I have not saved the packaging. I’m proud of my decluttering efforts, and years spent in a one-bedroom apartment always made my decision easy when considering whether to keep bulky boxes or not. So what is going on here?

Why would people save these particular boxes and not others? Is it that the packaging is beautiful and so people don’t want to throw it away? Perhaps it’s a way of proudly displaying aspects of personality or lifestyle in the way a person’s bookshelves or art do? A quick poll around the office produced the idea that Apple products have a resale value and so the original box could come in handy when it comes time to sell them. In fact, forget selling the computers–there is a whole section of eBay where you can buy empty Apple boxes. Amazing.

My personal opinion about Apple packaging is that it is really not any better, from a sustainability perspective, than any other electronics packaging. Though Apple does consider efficient packaging design, which its website says “not only reduces materials and waste, it also helps reduce the emissions produced during transportation,” I have noticed Apple packaging often contains a lot of components, many of which are not recyclable. The texture, the graphics, the experience–none of these give me enough reason to want to save that box. I just don’t understand this phenomenon! Can anyone out there enlighten me? And tell me, why have the other electronics companies not followed suit to enhance their own packaging’s desirability?


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