Dear Microsoft… how about sustainability?

So I just bought a mouse the other day and it came in this massive box made of what it looks like reinforced cardboard. Expensive? Not really, around 7 EUR.

I took the mouse out, plugged it in the USB slot, worked as expected. Happy!

The box, still massive and heavy. Inside, two manuals… one 91 pages (including covers) Product Guide and one 46 pages (with covers) Warranty.

A 91 pages Product Guide? For a mouse? C’mon!

The Product Guide is in 11 languages. Well this must be the reason, eh? But is it?

Page 1 for English instructions: safety symbols… well, laws are laws…

P.2 AC-Powered Devices – not the case, it’s a mouse; P.3 – battery powered devices: it has a cord; Headset Devices – it’s a mouse; Webcam Devices – it’s a mouse

p.4 – Health Warning, do not ingest… how could I… laws are laws bla.

pp.5-6 – Lase Pointers – not the case, it’s a mouse; p.7 Regulatory stuff; pp.8-9 EU Directives and Patent info…

Now, dear Microsoft, why would you waste so much paper, work and money (localization agency, approval cycle, printing, paper, binding etc.) for a document that 1. is not read & 2. it has additional 10 languages that are superfluous?

Now, I’m pitching myself as a person that doesn’t just complain, but also provides solutions. Here are some that came to mind:

  • legal stuff on box, in small print, 2-4 languages – regional
  • warranty also on box, in small print, with perforated profile and a scissors icon, so you know it’s for keeping
  • no instructions… the thing is plug & play anyway
  • instructions on the back of the lid
  • instructions in a small pdf file that is contained within the mouse

Let’s start a brainstorming in the comment section… help M help the environment!

2 comments

  1. Unless the mouse has extra features, why not just do away with any packaging, eh? Put a barcode directly on the mouse, along with serial and model numbers to identify it in case of return/warranty claim (who uses a mouse warranty, though?). Throw several mice in a box and ship it to the store. Cut perforations out of the box, transforming it into a display box (think how candy bars are stocked near the registers). Plug-in-play and in-mouse instructional PDF, like you suggested.

    1. Thanks for jumping in, Mark. Using codes on the device would probably be the cheapest, most effective option.

      I think it is fascinating to observe how some large companies gather clutter during time, clutter that eventually translates into information dump (the mouse example), an extra feature/ button that nobody will use etc. Lots of money is then spent to add simplicity and the cycle repeats itself.

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